Published: Mon, March 11, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Brexit talks deadlocked before vote on May's deal

Brexit talks deadlocked before vote on May's deal

No, really! We've heard this before, but now it looks to be real.

One EU diplomat said May was preparing the ground for "a blame game" if she loses the vote on Tuesday.

Here's what you need to know about the week ahead.

The first of the votes comes tomorrow.

Theresa May, the Remain-backing interior minister, becomes prime minister on 13 July. It's not going anywhere so even an extension is unlikely to break the impasse. May's government has been seeking changes, but the European Union refuses to reopen the 585-page agreement that it spent a year-and-a-half negotiating.

Some British politicians call this a "Hotel California" Brexit, because, from their perspective, "You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave".

"More time to do what?"

The lower house has since backed Mrs May returning to Brussels to negotiate concessions on the Irish backstop - specifically, a legally-binding unilateral exit mechanism to stop Northern Ireland being locked in regulatory alignment with the European Union - but in so failing to do so before Tuesday's vote, it is anticipated that the prime minister will lose again by a speculated 100 votes. That could provoke violence, given the border's violent political history.

Parliament rejected Theresa May's deal by a record margin in January.

"May has boxed herself even deeper into a corner, it seems the second meaningful vote will go ahead on Tuesday but it also seems like it won't be the last meaningful vote on this", one European Union official said. Parliament must approve the deal before it can be ratified.

If MPs also vote to reject this, they will be invited again to vote on whether the United Kingdom should seek an extension to Article 50.

British MPs are set to vote on a Brexit plan for a second time on Tuesday.

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What's the likelihood Parliament would vote for a "no-deal Brexit"?

The Labour Party has said it would support a second referendum if other options were exhausted. May relies on DUP votes to get her legislation passed after she lost her parliamentary majority.

But her approach to the Brexit endgame, seeking changes to the deal she herself negotiated with under three weeks to go until exit day, has prompted frustration and anger on all sides.

"And the week after they had left us we then moved to the position, exactly as agreed by Labour Party conference, where we were calling for a People's Vote".

Lawmakers would then vote on Wednesday or Thursday on whether to postpone Brexit, which might be the only choice at that point.

Mrs May's earlier warnings to Brexiteers on the risk of a delay ultimately derailing the Brexit process was trenchantly repeated yesterday by a key ally.

The pair backed extending the Article 50 negotiating period, with Mr McDonnell suggesting any delay should be "as long as necessary" in an interview on the BBC's Andrew Marr show.

Probably for years. Right now, Brussels and London are only a rguing over the so-called divorce arrangement, unwinding more than 40 years of economic integration.

As a result, in a vote on Tuesday evening lawmakers are expected to reject - for a second time - the withdrawal agreement May negotiated with Brussels a year ago.

It depends. In the highly unlikely event that she gets her deal through Parliament, she will get credit for managing, albeit with many missteps, a almost impossible task.

"No deal for Britain is better than a bad deal", she insists. May has pledged not to lead her party into the next general election, which is scheduled to be held in 2022. This threat of no deal has been central to May's all-or-nothing strategy to get MPs to back her Brexit plans. That would give her a little more time for negotiation, but it also might spell the end of her office.

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