United Kingdom lawmakers willing to vote down Brexit deal

Ann Santiago
October 11, 2018

DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson condemned what he said was the EU's offer for a backstop that would keep Britain in the EU customs union for an unspecified, time-limited period, would exclude Northern Ireland from new British trade deals and see checks on goods moving from mainland Britain to the province.

With the support of the DUP, she commands a majority of only 13 lawmakers and needs to keep either her own party onside or attract votes from the main opposition Labour Party.

The details at stake are mainly over how to avoid the return of border controls between European Union member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland, amid fears they might put a 1998 peace deal in the north at risk.

DUP leader Arlene Foster is steadfastly against any agreement with the European Union that would leave Northern Ireland being treated differently to the rest of the UK.

Steve Baker, Conservative MP for Wycombe, said he believed "at least 40" of his colleagues would vote against a deal along the lines the PM has proposed which would include this "backstop" for Northern Ireland.

"I hope it won't happen, we don't want to embarrass the government, but we want the government to take a long hard look at our position".

He also stressed the EU's insistence that Britain must accept possible checks on goods moving between its mainland and its province of Northern Ireland, saying Brexit will trigger the need for customs, value-added tax and compliance checks with European Union standards.

Brexit negotiators are working "day and night" to try to reach a deal, the EU's Michel Barnier has said. But after meetings in Brussels, Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which props up the minority Conservative government in parliament, has issued a series of terse warnings to May.

And to make the prime minister's headache even more acute, around 30 Conservative party's pro-EU MPs are reportedly planning to form an official group counterbalance the Jacob Rees Mog-led ERG pro-Brexit group.

According to one of the academics who conducted "The Future of England Study", unionists' preference for Brexit over the territorial integrity of the United Kingdom "raises questions about the type of union we're in, and indeed what unionism means".

The situation I speculatively outlined yesterday - May being forced to choose between a deal and the DUP - appears to have arrived already.

Mr Barnier said there were several areas of agreement with Mrs May's plans, published in a White Paper in July.

Senior Cabinet ministers will gather in Downing Street on Thursday for the latest in a series of briefings on the state of negotiations, though it is not expected that any fresh decisions will be made at the meeting.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article