Theresa Might liable to humiliating Brexit defeat in key vote
Theresa Might’s last-ditch try to shore up her Brexit deal appeared doomed on Monday night time, as Conservative Eurosceptic MPs threatened to humiliate the UK prime minister and plunge Britain’s future relationship with Europe into doubt.
Mrs Might spent the day pleading with MPs to take a “re-examination” at her deal and warning Tory Brexiters that in the event that they rejected the deal on Tuesday they might find yourself shedding Brexit altogether in a second EU referendum.
However Mrs Might’s appeals — coupled with an 11th-hour diplomatic initiative by EU leaders — did not safe the ocean change that will be required at Westminster to avoid wasting the deal from a crushing defeat.
Eurosceptics claimed that an unlikely alliance of Tory Brexiters, the Democratic Unionist get together and MPs from Labour and different opposition events would inflict a defeat on Mrs Might of about 100 votes within the 650-seat chamber.
In Downing Road there was a gathering temper of impending catastrophe, with some allies of the prime minister claiming the vote — to be held after 7pm — may very well be misplaced by 200 votes or extra.
Solely a handful of Eurosceptic Conservative critics of Mrs Might’s plan publicly declared they’d change sides, whereas Gareth Johnson, a authorities whip, stop to oppose the deal, leaving the whips workplace clinging to the hope that abstentions would assist staunch the loss.
Mrs Might is anticipated to make a press release instantly after the vote and is prone to pledge to return to Brussels to attempt to win legally binding concessions to make sure that the Irish backstop can be solely momentary. Many Brexiters say the measure, which is meant to stop a tough border on the island of Eire, would “lure” the UK in a customs association with the EU.
One senior minister stated Mrs Might can be underneath stress to announce instantly that Britain wouldn’t depart the EU on March 29 and not using a deal, in an try to go off a gathering temper of public and enterprise alarm.
There would even be stress for Mrs Might to delay Britain’s departure by asking for an extension of the Article 50 divorce course of, whereas MPs will demand a collection of indicative votes to check help for alternate options to the prime minister’s deal.
In the meantime, senior Labour figures stated that Jeremy Corbyn, the get together chief, would this week name a vote of confidence within the authorities, “barring an precise earthquake”, in an try to drive an election.
Though Mrs Might would anticipate to win such a vote with DUP help, a large defeat for her compromise Brexit plan — negotiated over two years in Brussels with 27 different member states — would create political chaos.
Talking within the Home of Commons on Monday, Mrs Might stated that failing to ship on Brexit can be a “subversion of our democracy”, including: “No matter you’ll have beforehand concluded, over these subsequent 24 hours, give this deal a re-examination.”
A 3-page letter from Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Fee, and Donald Tusk, European Council president, made no important revisions to the phrases of Britain’s Brexit bundle and was instantly rejected by the DUP and Tory Brexiters.
The Brussels leaders stated they anticipated any use of the backstop to get replaced “as rapidly as doable”.
Whereas Mr Juncker and Mr Tusk’s assurances might assist Mrs Might remind MPs of the principle components of her deal, they fell wanting UK requests to insert a goal date for each side to make sure the backstop would solely be used for a yr, if in any respect.
Mrs Might stated she understood that MPs wished a unilateral exit mechanism that will allow the UK to go away the backstop if it got here into drive. However she advised the Commons: “The EU wouldn’t conform to this.”
Mrs Might warned MPs that they risked “letting the British folks down” in the event that they vote down her deal on Tuesday. She stated the newest assurances from the EU had given the UK the “authorized drive” it sought.
“It’s not excellent however when the historical past books are written, folks will have a look at the choice of this Home tomorrow and ask: ‘Did we ship on the nation’s vote to go away the EU, did we safeguard our financial system, safety or union or did we let the British folks down?’,” she stated.
Further reporting by Alex Barker and Jim Pickard