May admits her Brexit deal would be defeated

Saul Bowman
December 13, 2018

The Government is obliged to hold a meaningful vote on the Prime Minister's Brexit deal after a successful 2016 legal challenge by activist Gina Miller, so while the Prime Minister may be able to defer the vote she is not able to cancel it.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has pulled the plug on Tuesday's parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal, a source with knowledge of the decision told CNN Monday.

But the pressure on May mounted over the weekend after Conservative lawmaker Will Quince quit his government role on Saturday in opposition to her deal, and the Sunday Times said further resignations were expected.

Alyn Smith, a Scottish nationalist member of the European Parliament and one of the Brexit opponents who had brought the case to the top EU court in Luxembourg, said the ruling "sends a clear message to United Kingdom [members of parliament] ahead of today's vote that there is a way out of this mess".

Tuesday's vote is likely to be tense, with Labour, Liberal Democrats, Scottish National Party and Northern Ireland's Democratic Nationalist Party, which has propped up the government since the general election in June 2017, all set to vote against the deal.

May insists the deal "delivers for the British people", but after three days of debate, it was clear that she didn't have the votes needed for passage.

"Everyone knows what the bone of contention is - the backstop - and there are a large number of MPs who are prepared to compromise", Brady said.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar ruled out reopening negotiations around the backstop, which is created to keep the Irish border open following Brexit.

"The government has lost control of events and is in complete disarray", Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said.

But she acknowledged that if the deal doesn't pass, she would prefer a model similar to that of Norway, which is not an EU member but is part of the European Economic Area.

But he said he was concerned that renegotiating the Withdrawal Agreement could lead to other European Union countries changing it "in a way that may not necessarily be to our advantage", adding: "By reopening it, there is a risk that we may not necessarily get everything that we wish for".

She is due back in Brussels at a summit of European Union on Thursday and is expected to ask for fresh concessions in an attempt to revive the chances of getting her deal through Parliament.

"As time is running out, we will also discuss our preparedness for a no-deal scenario".

But Johnson used a column in the Sun on Sunday to argue that "the best way to get a great deal is to prepare for no deal" by rejecting May's draft.

She said that British parliamentarians can vote for its agreement to withdrawal from the European Union, to leave the community without the agreement or opt out of Brexit.

The decision to halt the vote came just hours after the EU's top court ruled that Britain could unilaterally withdraw its decision to leave the bloc on March, 29.

"The terms of the WA were so bad that they didn't dare put it to Parliament for a vote".

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street in London. I believe it is a matter of the duty of members of this House to honour that result.

Senior Cabinet Brexiteer Michael Gove told BBC Radio 4's Today that there was "no-one better placed" than Mrs May to get additional concessions in order to provide MPs with "reassurance that this is the right deal".

The pound also saw its position against the euro eroded further, with it falling to €1.1074 - representing its lower level since September.

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