May's hopes for Brexit deal punctured by attorney general - global

Elias Hubbard
March 14, 2019

Theresa May looked exhausted as she left Downing Street this morning to beg her MPs to vote for her deal in a lunchtime meeting, warning them that Britain may never leave the European Union if they refuse to back her tonight. "Now is the time to come together to back this improved Brexit deal", May said at a joint press conference with Juncker.

According to Cox, the interpretive document offered by the European Union would grant no legally guaranteed right to exit the Irish Backstop in the event of a deal deadlock and triggered some aggressive selling pressure around the British Pound.

It leaves May facing an nearly certainly losing battle to overturn the 230 majority defeat of her deal in tonight's meaningful vote.

MPs will now vote at 1900 GMT on Wednesday on whether Britain should quit the world's biggest trading bloc without a deal, a scenario that business leaders warn would bring chaos to markets and supply chains, and other critics say could cause shortages of food and medicines.

Conservative lawmaker Nicky Morgan said May's position will become "less and less tenable" if she suffers more defeats in Parliament this week.

But the main opposition Labour Party maintained its opposition to the deal. May's political spokesman said she had not discussed resigning.

The prime minister, hoarse after Monday's late-night talks, told MPs: "Let me be clear".

If MPs opt for extending article 50 to continue deliberations, it still will not solve the problems May's government is facing.

"Is this incompetence or is this just contempt for Parliament?" opposition Labour MP Yvette Cooper asked on Monday. Does it want to hold a second referendum?

Juncker on Monday said a delay beyond European Parliament elections at the end of May would mean Britain would have to take part in the polls.

Labour MPs have been calling for clarification on what will happen on March 29 - the day the United Kingdom is scheduled to officially leave the EU.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said the deal agreed Monday night provided "additional clarity, reassurance and guarantees sought by some to eliminate doubt or fears, however unreal, that the goal was to trap the United Kingdom indefinitely in the backstop".

Sterling fell as much as 2 cents on Cox's advice, which was seen as reducing the chance that May's deal will be approved by parliament.

In it, Mr Cox said that documents agreed in Strasbourg "reduce the risk that the United Kingdom could be indefinitely and involuntarily detained" in the backstop by European Union bad faith or a failure by Brussels to use its "best endeavours" to negotiate a permanent deal on the future relationship.

His advice deals a significant blow to Mrs May's hopes of overturning the 230-vote of her Withdrawal Agreement in the second "meaningful vote" on the deal in the House of Commons tonight.

The House of Commons overwhelmingly rejected the original agreement in January.

"If MPs vote for Theresa May's Brexit deal, we edge closer to understanding exactly how and when Brexit will play out but whether that is positive or negative for the pound depends on the deal itself". May can try to seek further changes from the EU.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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