MPs vote to further bind Theresa May's hands on Brexit

James Marshall
January 10, 2019

Combined with a vote late yesterday when the government lost on the finance bill, the defeats underline May's precarious position in Parliament and the hard she will have in winning approval for her Brexit deal.

When the Prime Minister chose to delay the meaningful vote on her Brexit deal by a month because she was facing a historic defeat, with more than 100 Tories ready to vote it down, she pledged to gain legally binding assurances from the EU.

The Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom said there were "some concerns" about his decision and asked him to confirm it was taken with "full advice" from the Commons clerk Sir David Natzler.

The latest parliamentary fireworks come after the anti no-deal MPs defeated the government on Tuesday evening, in a significant show of parliamentary strength against what they feel would be a "cliff-edge" withdrawal from the EU.

If Mrs May's Brexit withdrawal agreement is rejected in a crunch vote in the House of Commons next week then the government must reveal its "Plan B" within three days.

The Father of the House, the former Chancellor Ken Clarke, earlier said he found it "unbelievable" that some MPs were trying to stop the Commons expressing its opinion on the matter.

Sir Oliver Letwin, a former minister in David Cameron's government who has never previously rebelled over Brexit, said that it was a signal to hard Brexit supporters that MPs would block a "no deal" scenario.

May postponed an initial vote last month in the face of opposition from all sides of the House of Commons, but has now set it for next Tuesday evening after 1900 GMT, following five days of debate which start on Wednesday. But there is little indication that many MPs have been swayed and the deal is nearly certain to be defeated on Tuesday. Ms.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove told Cabinet that those considering rejecting Mrs May's agreement in the hope of securing a better deal were like swingers in their mid-50s waiting for film star Scarlett Johansson to turn up on a date. However, pro-European Tories and opposition MPs backed the Speaker's decision. May presents. That clears the way for MPs to propose everything from a second referendum on Brexit to delaying the country's departure from the European Union and even cancelling Brexit altogether.

Other MPs would be in favour of a second referendum but such a move would likely cause outrage among Brexit voters and raise the issue of the framing of the question.

"We've put a good deal on the table that protects job and security", May said, adding that there would be no general election in the event that her plan is rebuffed.

Brexit supporters are anxious that there is no mechanism for Britain to unilaterally withdraw, meaning it could end up indefinitely stuck in the union, hampering its ability to strike deals with the rest of the world.

But EU leaders have refused to budge, insisting that the withdrawal agreement can not be renegotiated.

But Mr Corbyn hailed the development as an "important step" to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

"I am clear in my mind that I have taken the right course". "The only way to avoid "no deal" is to vote for the deal", she told MPs on Wednesday.

It is opposed by a hardline group of MPs from her own Tory Party, as well as their Democratic Unionist Party allies.

May's deal sets out plans for a post-Brexit transition period in which Britain would keep making financial contributions until December 2020.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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