Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Sci-tech | By April Francis

United Kingdom parliament debates Brexit deal ahead of crucial vote

United Kingdom parliament debates Brexit deal ahead of crucial vote

MPs approved a motion saying that if Parliament rejected Mrs May's divorce deal, the Government must come up with a "Plan B" within three working days.

The government had also been defeated on Tuesday night as MPs sent a powerful signal they will not accept a "no-deal" Brexit.

"I think he stepped way over the mark out today he's broken with parliamentary precedent".

The development came after 17 Tory rebels helped pass Mr Grieve's amendment by 308 votes to 297.

Barry Gardiner, the opposition Labour Party's shadow worldwide trade secretary, said earlier his party will table a no confidence motion in the government if - as expected - Parliament votes down Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal.

The main source of contention is the plan's safety net "backstop" measure - which would guarantee no hard border is reintroduced on the island of Ireland in the event that post-Brexit trade negotiations between the United Kingdom and the bloc prove unsuccessful.

Around 20 Tory MPs defied the government and backed the two motions this week and at least 40 hard-Brexit Tories have vowed to vote against the deal on Tuesday.

He told MPs: "There is a question of extension of Article 50 and that may be inevitable now given the position we are in".

It was drawn up by the Conservative former attorney general Dominic Grieve and forces a deadline on May if the deal is voted down as is predicted next Tuesday.

Despite the impasse over Brexit in parliament, Bercow's move to allow the amendment sparked utter fury from both Tory hard Brexiteers and those backing May and her deal.

In a statement outside the Commons, he said the vote in support of the amendment was "an important step to prevent a no-deal Brexit".

The group led by Grieve feel they must speed up the parliamentary process to stop May running down the clock to exit day on March 29 in an attempt to pressure MPs into backing her deal to guard against no-deal.

He said: "That sticker on the subject of Brexit happens to be affixed to or in the windscreen of my wife's auto, and I'm sure he wouldn't suggest for one moment that a wife is somehow the property or chattel of her husband".

"I realise there are a few of my colleagues who believe that if the Government's deal is rejected we should simply do nothing and leave the European Union on March 29 with no deal at all and with all, to my mind, the calamitous consequences that would follow on from it", he told the BBC.

"These discussions have shown that further clarification over the backstop is possible and those talks will continue over the next few days".

The government also offered a concession to Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, saying the British province would have "a strong role" in any decision between triggering the backstop or extending a transition period if a future relationship with the European Union is not in place by December 2020.

That suggestion did little to win over the DUP.

But, these were immediately rejected by the Tories' DUP allies, who prop up Mrs May's government at Westminster.

Mrs May retorted: "The only way to avoid no-deal is to vote for the deal".

Mr Lidington told the BBC that no alternative deal would be negotiated.

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