Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Theresa May tells MPs to 'hold our nerve' over Brexit deal

Boris Johnson Again Offers to Back May’s ‘Total Surrender’ Brexit Deal He ly Denounced		Getty Images11 Feb 2019 Boris Johnson Again Offers to Back May’s ‘Total Surrender’ Brexit Deal He ly Denounced Getty Images11 Feb 2019
Melinda Barton | 14 February, 2019, 00:27

"It's clear from our side we are not going to reopen the withdrawal agreement, but we will continue our discussions in the coming days", the EU's Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said Monday. But earlier in the day the prime minister began clearing the path to rushing through a deal at a very late stage.

British lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected May's withdrawal deal last month, with the major sticking point being the Irish "backstop" - an insurance policy to prevent the return of a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

She faced accusations that she's deliberately running down the clock in order to blackmail Parliament into backing her divorce package under the threat of a chaotic, no-deal split that could hit the pound by as much as 25 per cent.

May told MPs that if she fails to broker a new deal with the European Union before 27 February, her government will table a new motion to Parliament, in a bid to gauge the sort of deal which could obtain majority support from MPs.

As uncertainty around Brexit grows, a study by the IWH Institute in Germany revealed that if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal, it would put almost 6 lakh people around the world out of jobs.

"By getting the changes we need to the backstop; by protecting and enhancing workers' rights and environmental protections; and by enhancing the role of parliament in the next phase of negotiations I believe we can reach a deal that this house can support".

Yet again, this wouldn't amount to binding legal assurances but they are merely political commitments created to offer some leeway in the current Brexit withdrawal agreement.

She said May would promise MPs they could hold a series of votes on February 27 in an attempt to influence her Brexit strategy if she has not agreed a new deal by then. But any such move would cost Mrs May the support of a big chunk of her Conservative Party.

The political impasse leaves Britain lurching toward a chaotic no-deal departure that could be costly for businesses and ordinary people in both the United Kingdom and the EU.

Mark Francois, vice-chair of the ERG, told the BBC: "We can not vote for this as it is now configured because it rules out no deal and removes our negotiating leverage in Brussels".

"Of course, Labour want power, they don't want to be associated with helping May get her Brexit deal through", Martill argued, adding that Corbyn's customs union requirements are "a way of making sure the Tories can't come around to that position".

May "is playing for time and playing with people's jobs, our economic security and the future of our industry", said Corbyn. She said May would bring her deal back to Parliament for a vote "as soon as the issue around the backstop has been sorted out".

House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, who is in charge of the parliamentary timetable, denied the government was wasting time.

Mr Corbyn said Mrs May's delays were fuelling business uncertainty and sapping confidence in the government's ability to deliver Brexit. On Monday, figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed the economy shrunk by 0.4 per cent in December and that it grew by 1.4 per cent previous year, the slowest rate since 2009.