May's deal returns to Parliament as endgame nears

Katie Ramirez
January 10, 2019

On Wednesday, MPs approved a motion that will force her to return to Parliament with a "Plan B" within three sitting days of Parliament, or Monday.

Today's vote followed a furious exchange in Parliament sparked by speaker John Bercow's decision to allow MPs to vote on Mr Grieve's amendment.

British legislators have slashed the time Prime Minister Theresa May's government will have to formulate a plan B if her widely criticised Brexit deal is rejected in a crucial parliamentary vote next week.

Downing Street had tried to see off the Grieve amendment by promising the PM would "seek to provide certainty quickly" if she loses the vote on her under-fire deal next week, as expected.

"I disagree with that, and so I think do the vast majority of Members of Parliament".

The Scottish Secretary argued a second vote on the May Plan would "crystallise" matters in MPs' minds and afford them the "opportunity to reflect and understand the real alternatives: crashing out of the European Union in 80 days' time or stopping Brexit altogether".

The other 27 European Union leaders have repeatedly said they will not reopen the deal struck with Britain in November, which covers key separation issues such as money and expatriate citizens' rights.

"We are doing everything we can to win the meaningful vote that happens on Tuesday", the prime minister's spokesman said.

They backed an amendment to the Finance Bill, which would limit spending on no-deal preparations unless authorised by Parliament, by 303 to 296 votes.

"The only way to avoid "no deal" is to vote for the deal", May told lawmakers in the House of Commons on the first of five days of debate ahead of a vote on Tuesday.

The Shadow Brexit Secretary added: "Leaving with no-deal would be catastrophic".

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European leaders are struggling to find a way to help Theresa May convince MPs to back the Brexit deal, with one minister warning the block could do "nothing more".

"I'm sorry but there is a distinction between a motion and an amendment", declared Mr Bercow, at which Mr Francois yelled "ridiculous" and "utter sophistry".

Tory MPs to speak in favour of the motion included ex-ministers Nick Boles and Sir Oliver Letwin.

Rebellious Conservative MPs teamed up with opposition party Labour on Wednesday to vote for a motion created to prevent the government delaying key decisions on Brexit.

Twenty Tory Ministers rebelled against the government in the vote.

The leader of the opposition Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn said: "This vote is an important step to prevent a no-deal Brexit".

Wednesday's decision came as MPs began five days of debate on May's deal and is the latest example of legislators seeking to tie the government's hands over Brexit, with less than three months to go before the United Kingdom leaves the European Union on March 29.

A Downing Street source said she had always meant to respond quickly if she loses next week's vote.

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".

Parliament is due to vote on the divorce deal next week.

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