Friday, May 24, 2019 | ePaper

May faces heavy Brexit defeat in parliament, eurosceptics warn

  • Print


Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip leave church, near High Wycombe, Britain on Sunday.

Reuters, London :
British Prime Minster Theresa May's Brexit deal faces a heavy defeat in parliament on Tuesday because she has so far secured no major changes from the European Union, the leaders of two major eurosceptic factions in parliament said on Sunday.
Just 19 days before the United Kingdom is due to leave the EU on March 29, May's is scrambling - so far unsuccessfully - to secure last-minute changes to an EU exit agreement before a vote on Tuesday on whether to approve the deal.
If she fails, lawmakers are expected to force May to seek a delay to Brexit that some fear could see the 2016 decision to leave the bloc reversed. Others argue that without a delay Britain faces chaos if it leaves without a deal on March 29.
Nigel Dodds, the deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which props up May's minority government, and Steve Baker, a leading figure in the large eurosceptic faction of her Conservative party, warned "the political situation is grim".
"An unchanged withdrawal agreement will be defeated firmly by a sizeable proportion of Conservatives and the DUP if it is again presented to the Commons," they wrote in the Sunday Telegraph.
The Sunday Times said May was battling to save her job as aides were considering persuading her to offer to resign in a bid to get the deal approved. The newspaper also said cabinet ministers have spoken about whether to insist she goes as early as this week.
Parliament rejected May's deal by a record margin in January, prompting the British leader to return to Brussels in search of changes to address the so-called Irish backstop - an insurance policy designed to prevent the return of a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Many British lawmakers object to the policy on the grounds that it could leave Britain subject to EU rules indefinitely and cleave Northern Ireland away from the rest of the country.
But, May's attempts to get the clause rewritten have so far failed to yield any result, with EU negotiators unwilling to meet her demands, and Britain rejecting a compromise offer.
Britain's opposition Labour Party should support staying in the EU if there is a second referendum, the party's Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer, said on Sunday. "If there's a public vote that would operate as a lock, if you like, on any deal that Theresa May get through. If that is the position, then in my view, the default ought to be 'remain'," Starmer told Sky News.
However, Starmer said the party would not be seeking to secure support in parliament for a second referendum on Tuesday.
EU leaders have rejected her demands, however, and talks between British and EU officials have failed to secure a breakthrough. If they fail to approve a deal and if no extension is negotiated, Britain would have to leave the European Union after 46 years of membership on March 29, causing huge disruption on both sides.
Discussions at official level continued this weekend on some kind of legal guarantees that might persuade MPs to back the deal. May is poised to make a last-minute visit herself if needed.
But few expect any major concessions before Tuesday's vote, and the prime minister instead has sought to remind MPs of the stakes involved.
She warned in a speech Friday that rejecting her deal again would create a "moment of crisis". "Back it and the UK will leave the European Union. Reject it and no one knows what will happen," she said.
"We may not leave the EU for many months. We may leave without the protections that the deal provides. We may never leave at all."
A threatened cabinet revolt over the risks of a no-deal Brexit forced May to agree that, if her deal is defeated again, MPs will be able to vote on both a "no deal" option or a delay to Brexit this week.
·Speaking in Grimsby, a North Sea fishing port that voted to leave the EU
in the 2016 referendum, May asked Brussels for "one more push" to get an agreement.
"The decisions that the European Union makes over the next few days will have a big impact on the outcome of the vote," she said.
Their talks are focused on the so-called backstop, an arrangement in the Brexit deal intended to keep open the Irish border.
It would keep Britain in the EU's customs union and parts of its single market until and unless another way - such as a trade deal - is found to avoid frontier checks.
Many MPs fear a trap to keep them tied to EU rules, but Brussels has rejected calls for a time limit or unilateral way out of the arrangement.
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier repeated on Friday that the bloc could offer a legally binding statement confirming the backstop was only meant to be temporary.
Speaking to reporters after May's speech, he added: "We are not interested in the blame game, we are interested in the result."

More News For this Category

May clings to power as Brexit gambit backfires

May clings to power as Brexit gambit backfires

Reuters, London  :Prime Minister Theresa May was clinging on to power on Thursday after her final Brexit gambit backfired, overshadowing a European election that has shown a United Kingdom still

Trump walks out on Democrats as impeachment talk heats up

Trump walks out on Democrats as impeachment talk heats up

Donald Trump erupted in fury Wednesday at unrelenting probes into his links to Russia, as the top Democrat in Congress accused the president of a "cover-up" that could be an

Pentagon proposing troop buildup in the Mideast

Pentagon proposing troop buildup in the Mideast

AP, Washington  :The Pentagon on Thursday will present plans to the White House to send up to 10,000 more troops to the Middle East, in a move to beef up

News In Brief

Trump to get royal treatment on Japan emperor visitAFP, WashingtonDonald Trump is accused at times of acting like a king, but when the US president becomes the first foreign leader

Monitor says no evidence of new Syria chemical attack

AFP, Beirut  : A British-based war monitor said Wednesday it had no evidence to suggest the Syrian army had carried out a new chemical attack despite Washington's announcement it had suspicions."We

Top officials say US doesn't want war with Iran

Top officials say US doesn't want war with Iran

AP, Washington :Top Trump administration officials have told Congress that recent actions by the U.S. have deterred Iranian attacks on American forces. But some lawmakers remain deeply skeptical of the

Modi's party promises to boost India's economy; Congress calls exit polls fake

Modi's party promises to boost India's economy; Congress calls exit polls fake

Reuters, New Delhi :India's ruling coalition has promised to rev up growth, double farmers' income and boost infrastructure spending in the next five years after exit polls showed it would

India's Congress urges workers to ignore ominous exit polls, be vigilant

India's Congress urges workers to ignore ominous exit polls, be vigilant

Reuters, New Delhi :India's main opposition Congress party has told its workers not to lose heart and to remain vigilant at vote-count centers after exit polls predicted a clear election

Sherpa climbs Everest twice in a week for record 24th

Sherpa climbs Everest twice in a week for record 24th

Agencies, Kathmandu  :Just a week after breaking his own record for the most number of summits on Mount Everest, Kami Rita Sherpa yet again climbed the world's highest mountain today

Brexit shifts politics in Ireland as parties look north

Brexit shifts politics in Ireland as parties look north

Reuters, Dublin  :When Britain voted to leave the European Union, few voters outside Northern Ireland thought about what it would mean for the British province.Three years on, Northern Ireland is