Published: Fri, December 07, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

PM May rejects calls for vote delay, Brexit vote will go on

PM May rejects calls for vote delay, Brexit vote will go on

Parliament's vote on British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal will go ahead on December 11, her office said on Thursday, despite a newspaper report ministers had sought a delay to prevent a defeat so big that it might bring down the government.

Supporters of a clean break with the European Union say the backstop, meant to ensure no hard border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and the EU-member Irish Republic, could leave Britain forced to accept European Union regulations indefinitely, or Northern Ireland treated differently from the rest of Britain.

"The obvious, in terms of the role of the United Kingdom, is for it to be parliament that makes these decisions".

Cox argued before the advice was made public that revealing its contents could jeopardise the country's ability to negotiate a new trade deal with the European Union next year.

"The backstop is talked about as if it's automatic".

The PM's deal is now supported by only 27 per cent of Brits putting her offer level with a no deal agreement (even though a no deal has a lead support in 30 seats).

What Theresa May sketched out on Thursday was the idea of allowing MPs to choose when and if they want to go into the controversial "backstop" - the insurance policy against a hard border on the island of Ireland.

The DUP, May's one-time Northern Irish allies, warned on Wednesday that while they wouldn't vote for the Brexit deal, if the accord is thrown out by Parliament, then they would support the government in any subsequent confidence vote.

Calling for unity over the deal, she said: "Now is the time for this country to come back together again".

With May's conservative party "highly unlikely" to go for a general election in the event the deal is voted down, Blair laid out a scenario in which various types of Brexit are then put forward by lawmakers - with only the rejection of a no-deal Brexit able to command a majority.

The former foreign secretary said: 'Under her deal the European Union has the legal right to stop us extending the transition and make us enter the backstop, whatever the PM or parliament says.' Chancellor Philip Hammond will be among ministers visiting schools, businesses and hospitals today in a bid to win public backing for Mrs May's deal.

While Mrs May's Conservatives and the main opposition Labour party both say they respect the 2016 vote to leave, a growing number of backbench lawmakers say the only solution may be a new referendum giving voters an option to stay in the EU.

Meanwhile an ERG source said members of the Privy Council - senior MPs and former ministers - had been invited to a briefing with the Cabinet Office's Civil Contingencies Secretariat to be told about the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit.

She also ruled out a second referendum, arguing that those who were calling for one were doing so in the hopes that Brexit could be stopped.

Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary who had tabled the demand for its publication, said having reviewed the legal advice it was "obvious why this needed to be placed in the public domain". Yes, but not enough to make me think that voting against the deal is the best option - not least because this could end up with Brexit not being delivered at all.

They said: 'We are prepared if there is a no-deal scenario next March. I'm clear that should not happen.

The vote on December 11 was effectively set in stone by MPs at the start of the debate on the Prime Minister's Brexit deal on Tuesday and any new timetable would have to be backed by the Commons.

Should it pass the House of Commons, the proposal will also need to satisfy Parliament's upper chamber, the House of Lords.

"Personally, I don't see what the point is in going down to a huge defeat", he said.

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