United Kingdom parliament votes for a Brexit delay

16 March, 2019, 04:13 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • British PM May fails to win over her party ahead of Brexit vote

Power to approve or reject the extension lies with the European Union, whose officials have said they will only allow a delay if Britain either approves a divorce deal or makes a fundamental shift in its approach to Brexit.

The DUP's Westminster leader, Nigel Dodds, said discussions were "friendly and constructive" at a Cabinet Office summit with Cabinet ministers, including May's de-facto deputy David Lidington, the Environment Secretary Michael Gove and the Chancellor Philip Hammond, sparking speculation that a financial incentive for Northern Ireland could be part of the negotiations.

MPs have twice rejected Mrs May's deal to withdraw from the EU.

US President Donald Trump said Thursday that a new Brexit referendum - touted by many in Britain who say the first vote to leave the European Union led to political chaos - would be unfair.

Withdrawing without a deal could mean major disruptions for businesses and people in the United Kingdom and the 27 remaining countries. Lawmakers rejected an attempt to strip her of control over the Brexit agenda.

The cross-party amendment, tabled by MPs including Labour's Hilary Benn and Yvette Cooper and Tory Sir Oliver Letwin, would have forced a set of "indicative votes" to determine the preferred Brexit outcome of the House of Commons.

An earlier vote on an amendment to hold a second referendum was defeated 85 votes for to 330 against, with Labour MPs abstaining from voting.

"But, if we don't have a deal, then we should leave with no deal".

Our Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire MPs - Stephen McPartland, Nadine Dorries, Bim Afolami, Alistair Burt and Sir Oliver Heald - all voted in favour of PM Theresa May's second Brexit deal.

Parliamentary precedent holds that the government can not ask MPs to vote twice on the same issue during the same session of parliament, to prevent the executive bullying the Commons by putting the same measure to a vote repeatedly.

Postponing Brexit gives May some respite, amid a crisis that has shredded her authority and obliterated her control of a fractious Conservative minority government.

If the vote is successful then she can ask for a "short technical extension" to Article 50.

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But another defeat for her deal, a third in a row, could lead May to decide the game is up and that it is time to quit.

To succeed, May must win over dozens of Brexit-supporting rebels in her own Conservative Party and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which has 10 lawmakers in parliament.

May's deal, an attempt to keep close relations with the European Union while leaving the bloc's formal structures, was defeated by 230 votes in parliament on January 15 and by 149 votes on March 12. Senior Tory Sir Christopher Chope said: 'Our country is a laughing stock.

If May's deal is approved, she hopes to use a delay until June 30 to enact legislation needed for Britain's departure.

One former Cabinet minister said in order for the ERG to climb down and support May's deal at the third time of asking, "there's an unlock requirement - and that's the DUP - and their primary concern is that they will be separated from us".

In response to Thursday night's vote, a spokesman for the European Commission said extending Article 50, would need the "unanimous agreement" of 27 EU member states.

Officials and national leaders in the bloc are exasperated at the events in London.

The European Council is due to meet next on March 21-22. The EU rules out reworking the deal May accepted.

This prospect would not displease US President Donald Trump, who has pleaded in the past for a "hard" Brexit.

Theresa May will continue efforts to salvage her Brexit deal amid further signs of pressure on her position.

They voted on Wednesday not to leave without an agreement but without any firm roadmap on the way forward three years after Brexit was launched in a bitterly divisive referendum.

Caroline Flint, a Labour MP opposed to a second referendum, said she was "really delighted" that Bercow had selected the amendment because she would have the opportunity to vote against it.

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