PM May rejects calls for vote delay, Brexit vote will go on

Blanche Robertson
December 7, 2018

She added: "There are pros and cons to both sides of that".

According to BuzzFeed, Downing Street advisers have urged Theresa May to consider a second referendum or a softer Brexit as options, as her team work out the best response to her deal being rejected.

"If we get to the point where it might be needed, we have a choice as to what we do, so we don't even have to go into the backstop at that point".

But speaking in Tuesday's Commons debate Sir Graham said "there has to be a way to leave" the backstop mechanism without the EU's approval.

Opening a third day of debate, Mr Hammond told the Commons a no-deal Brexit would be "too terrible to contemplate".

In one potential concession, May said she recognised that there were concerns among lawmakers about the so-called Northern Irish backstop and she was looking at whether parliament could be given a greater role in deciding whether to trigger it.

The government was forced to hand over its Brexit legal advice to parliament this morning.

Both opponents and allies alike have spent days criticising the agreement, especially the backstop, meant to ensure there is no return to a hard border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland.

May signalled that she was determined to plough on with a vote and suggested a "parliamentary lock" on the Irish backstop could persuade more MPs to back it.

Before the prime minister appeared at the despatch box, her government had gone down to defeat for the third time in an hour.

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The House of Commons leader, Andrea Leadsom, told parliament the vote on December 11 would go ahead.

Some 26 Tory MPs - including former ministers Sir Michael Fallon, Damian Green and Sir Oliver Letwin - rebelled on the amendment tabled by ex-attorney general Dominic Grieve.

"This is a political decision for the Government".

"The prime minister can't keep pushing Parliament away or avoiding responsible scrutiny". Mrs May has offered MPs a say over the backstop in a bid to secure the votes she needs.

Writing in the Guardian today, Jeremy Corbyn criticised an alternative "Norway-plus" deal being touted by some MPs, saying it would leave the United Kingdom as "an across-the-board rule-taker of European Union regulations without a say".

It then opens up the field to a no-deal chaotic Brexit without any exit arrangements in place, a scenario which also has few takers in the UK Parliament and is expected to further dent May's already tenuous hold on leadership.

"I am talking to colleagues about how we can look at parliament having a role in going into that and, if you like, coming out of that", she said.

"And with my whole heart I commend this motion to the House".

Theresa May says she "is talking to colleagues" about their concerns over the Northern Ireland "backstop" ahead of a crucial vote on her European Union deal.

If the deal is voted down, some members of parliament from both main parties have said they would act to stop a Brexit with no agreement, which business chiefs and investors fear would weaken the West, spook financial markets and block trade.

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