Published: Fri, January 18, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

May makes final case for Brexit deal: 'don't let the people down'

May makes final case for Brexit deal: 'don't let the people down'

The letter, which May said had "legal force", committed to a rapid negotiation of a new trade and customs deal after Brexit, and promised that if the withdrawal deal's controversial "backstop" protecting the status of the Irish border was needed it would only be a temporary measure.

After Tuesday's defeat, May assured the House of Commons that "the House has spoken and the government will listen".

For Labour, shadow global trade secretary Barry Gardiner said: "It's a deal that members on all sides now believe is not in the best interests of our country and I know the Prime Minister is now reaching out to her rather unlikely new-found friends in Unite and GMB and even to members across the House, but colleagues will recognise that this is a paradigm of too little too late".

May needs the support of 320 MPs to have her deal voted through the House of Commons.

Commentators are predicting a large defeat for Theresa May in the Commons this evening.

The withdrawal agreement includes plans for a post-Brexit transition period to provide continuity until a new relationship is drawn up, in return for continued budget contributions from London. "We will do everything we can to prevent a no-deal exit".

What happens if deal is rejected?

Stefanie Bolzen, UK correspondent for German newspaper Die Welt, says: "I don't think they [the EU] are going to budge - but I do think they do see the problem now because the loss or the defeat was so stark, they know now that the deal will not succeed and they will have to move because no deal is more likely for both sides". A handful of previously opposed legislators have swung behind May's agreement in the last few days, but they remain outnumbered by those determined to vote against it.

The letter, co-signed by European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, however noted there can be no change to the draft withdrawal agreement or future political arrangement that have been provisionally agreed.

She sought assurances from Brussels that would assuage MPs' concerns over the so-called Irish backstop arrangement.

Security personnel announces major strike at 8 German airports | International Flight Network
The airline said earlier that passengers with a flight from Frankfurt can rebook for free onto another flight until January 20. The airport Association ADV expects that approximately 220,000 passengers affected by the cancellations and delays.

But while European Union leaders have offered "clarifications" to the deal, they insist the 585-page withdrawal agreement can not be reopened.

"Despite a letter of supposed reassurance from the European Union, there are no "legally binding assurances" as the Prime Minister talked about in December".

She lashed out at opponents, including many of her fellow Conservatives, who have plotted to undermine the deal. Of those, around 100 are government ministers and Conservative Party enforcers, or whips, who are required to support the deal and so are not included in the tally. Some opposition lawmakers' suspect that the government plans to reduce the protections in a bid to boost the economy after Britain leaves the EU.

The thousands of correspondences I have received in recent weeks over Brexit are clear: no one supports the Government's deal.

Under the terms of an amendment passed last week, she must table a motion on her "Plan B" by Monday - although in practice she is unlikely to want to wait that long.

Some members of Parliament from both government and opposition parties are exploring ways to use parliamentary procedures to wrest control of the Brexit process away from the government, so that lawmakers by majority vote could specify a new plan for Britain's European Union exit. Parliament has given the government until Monday to come up with a new proposal.

The EU would likely be more receptive to a softer Brexit deal that saw Britain remain part of the bloc's single market for goods and services.

Boris Johnson has urged colleagues to vote against the Prime Minister's Brexit plan and instead push for no-deal "with zeal and enthusiasm".

"The economic damage which it will do to us will be vast, so that the most vulnerable in our society will be those who suffer most as a outcome", Grieve said.

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