Here’s how the U.K.’s parliamentary Brexit debate will work

Elias Hubbard
March 1, 2019

"The people of Britain and Wales have voted to leave the European Union and if there's been a failing, there's been a failing by the European Union for not being able to instil the confidence that they want in the people of this nation".

She looks to have postponed a moment of reckoning in the deeply divided legislature by promising lawmakers they will be given the chance next month to block a no-deal Brexit and delay Britain's exit day if her agreement is rejected.

Meanwhile, the main opposition Labour Party will table an amendment with five demands, including Britain remaining in a Customs union with the EU after Brexit.

Costa quit his junior government post, an unpaid role as parliamentary private secretary in the Scotland Office, earlier today in order to bring the amendment - which the government then backed.

However, EU diplomats say that a suggestion to let Britain remain a full EU member until even, say, the end of next year - which was due to be a status-quo transition period - may be as much meant to spook hardline, pro-Brexit lawmakers into accepting May's deal for fear of ending up stuck inside the EU.

This lost by 83 votes and it is likely now that Labour will push for a second referendum.

On Wednesday, the Conservative government agreed that May will seek a joint U.K. -EU commitment on citizens' rights, whether or not the Brexit deal is approved.

Also selected was an amendment from Labour's Yvette Cooper, simply restating Mrs May's promises in the hope of pinning her down to them with a motion passed by the House. There were no voices in opposition. "We already know that in the event of "no deal" the European Union will seek an informal transition period for nine months in many areas and settlement talks could continue within this window".

Keir Starmer, Labour's point person on Brexit, tweeted that he was "disappointed" that Labour's Brexit plans didn't get a thumbs up, but reiterated that Labour will "put forward or support an amendment in favour of a public vote to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit".

French President Emmanuel Macron said the European Union would agree to extend the Brexit deadline only if Britain justified such a request with a clear objective.

At the press conference after their discussions, both leaders made statements about an extension to the process - with a slight difference in tone.

Mrs May said in response that she was "very sorry" to receive his letter of resignation, but she was "glad to know that you will continue to support the Withdrawal Agreement so that we can leave with a deal on 29 March".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was softer, saying Berlin would not refuse Britain more time.

European Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier said on Thursday that the United Kingdom needed to make a decision rather than call for a possible postponement of the Brexit deadline, adding that the talks on the United Kingdom withdrawal from Europe were at "a grave moment".

French President Emmanuel Macron said any such request would need to be justified by "a clear perspective on the goal".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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