German minister: no room for United Kingdom renegotiation

Grant Boone
January 31, 2019

MPs will vote tonight on up to 16 amendments, including one by Labour's Yvette Cooper which could rule out a no-deal Brexit and delay the UK's exit from the European Union for up to nine months.

Bosses at top supermarkets and food chains on Monday urged British lawmakers to avoid a no-deal Brexit or risk reducing the availability of many products.

One of the amendments which could be voted on on Tuesday would open the door for the House of Commons to bring in legislation preventing Britain leaving the European Union without a deal by forcing May to delay Brexit for nine months if her deal is not approved before Feb 26. It's now all about the Brexit vote amendments with the latest being that Tory MP Nick Morgan saying that she will back the Brady Amendment and will also vote for the Cooper Amendment. Only those selected by Speaker John Bercow will go forward to a vote.

The prime minister's official spokesman said it would be followed "as soon as possible" by a second meaningful vote on whatever deal has been secured with Brussels. If it is defeated, she will table another amendable motion for debate the following day. But clearly, if we are to obtain parliamentary support for that deal, some changes will have to be made'.

Her announcement brought the prospect of the cancellation of Parliament's half-term recess a step closer, as the Commons is now due to rise for its 10-day break on February 14.

One would give parliament the right to tell the government to leave the hated border arrangement should talks on a new EU-UK trade deal break down.

"It is quite a challenge to see how you can construct from a diversity of the opposition a positive majority for the deal", the EU's deputy chief negotiator, Sabine Weyand, told a Brussels conference organised by the European Policy Centre think-tank. Neither London nor Brussels can end the arrangement unilaterally. However, for the GBP/USD exchange rate much will also depend on the overall performance of the U.S. Dollar which has struggled in 2019 owing to the improvement in global investor sentiment.

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At the weekend, Ireland's foreign minister, Simon Coveney, stated baldly the backstop simply "isn't going to change". "It was negotiated over 18 months with the United Kingdom and by the U.K". "A bit of realism is needed at this stage".

She said it was a chance to, "tell Brussels that the current nature of the backstop is the key reason Parliament can not support this deal". "I think we should send the prime minister back to Brussels with a strong mandate to be able to say "If you compromise with us on this one issue, on the backstop, we would be able to a get an agreement" - an agreement that is nearly there", he told the BBC. "There is no majority to re-open or dilute the Withdrawal Agreement in the European Parliament, including the backstop".

The pound then sunk even further by almost 0.7% as a number of other amendments were voted on - particularly MPs backing a call for the Brexit deal to be passed if backstop removed.

The DUP says it will back a Brexit compromise both Conservative remainers and leavers support.

The Democratic Unionist Party's 10 MPs have yet to declare whether they will back the Brady plan and if they vote against it the ERG rebellion is likely to be even larger.

Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who resigned past year in opposition to the backstop and May's agreement, described the amendment's passage as "a victory for the prime minister, but also it's a victory for the U.K." as it allows May to return to Brussels stronger to negotiate changes.

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