Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Decision time: Brexit deal returns to parliament

Decision time: Brexit deal returns to parliament

"I'm not sure that the agreements with the European Union are a major change...that they continue to be promises of goodwill, but we have heard what the Irish have to say", he said, adding, "Many Conservatives will be heavily influenced by the DUP's (Democratic Unionist Party's) view", which appears to be rejecting the deal. It is what you do with this second chance that counts.

Geoffrey Cox said changes announced late Monday "reduce the risk" Britain could be stuck inside European Union regulations indefinitely - but do not eliminate it.

With Theresa May likely to be humiliated again seeking further concessions in Strasbourg today and in tomorrow's vote, it appears city institutions have been voting with their feet, moving operations overseas. The mechanism, known as the backstop, is a safeguard that would keep the United Kingdom in a customs union with the EU until a permanent new trading relationship is in place.

British MPs voted by 391 to 242 last night against the Brexit deal, despite Ms May's assurance that new agreements would ensure the United Kingdom can not be trapped in the controversial Northern Ireland backstop arrangement indefinitely.

Talk of May stepping down as Prime Minister sooner rather than later is also growing, with her former policy adviser, Tory MP George Freeman, calling for "a new leader for a new generation" after Brexit.

The PM's spokesman cautioned against "speculation" that Mrs May might ask Parliament to vote on a "conditional" motion expressing its readiness to support a form of deal other than the one agreed with Brussels.

The self-styled "star chamber" of lawyers belonging to the rightwing European Research Group emphasised that the terms of the new document "do not materially change the position the United Kingdom would find itself in if it were to ratify the withdrawal agreement..."

The temporary tariff guidelines, which would go into place if there is a no-deal Brexit, published by the British government today, include increases to a number of items including beef, lamb, pork, poultry and dairy.

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May announced three documents - a joint instrument, a joint statement and a unilateral declaration - which she said were aimed at addressing the most contentious part of the divorce deal she agreed in November - the Irish backstop.

May's deal was rejected by a majority of 230 votes in January, and although a few MPs have come onside, there is no sign yet of a major shift in opinion.

A Brexit deal seemed close on Saturday after the European Union indicated legal ways for London to unilaterally leave the contentious Irish border backstop, sources in the bloc said, but the plan was rejected by British Prime Minister Theresa May's cabinet.

The European Parliament's chief Brexit official has questioned whether a short extension of the March 29 Brexit deadline can be given if Britain doesn't emerge from its political chaos on the issue. She has already survived votes of no confidence by her own party and Parliament as a whole.

If she fails, lawmakers are expected to force May to seek a delay to Brexit which some fear could see the 2016 decision to leave the bloc reversed. It is irritated, too, that Britain is seeking changes to an agreement that Ms. Conservative lawmaker Steve Baker said ahead of Lidington's statement to parliament.

Urging the support of Conservative backbenchers, it said: "If today they still can not swallow their pride, hold their noses and back this deal, we fear the consequences".

Mr Juncker said he had spoken to Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who he said had indicated he was "prepared to back this approach in the interests of an overall deal".

"Finally, the House of Commons is going to have to make a final judgement on what it wants in terms of Brexit", he said.

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