May claims Brexit breakthrough ahead of vote

14 March, 2019, 12:00 | Author: Wade Massey
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Sky News correspondent David Blevins confirmed that a source close to the party said they did not see how the party could support the amended deal following Geoffrey Cox's legal advice.

Mr Derrick said if the prime minister's deal was defeated by only a narrow margin in Tuesday's vote "that might encourage optimism" that a tweaked deal could be agreed before the end of the month.

But Tuesday's vote also meant that an array of possibilities open up including a second referendum or general elections - keeping general market volatility levels on the pound high.

"It is not sustainable, the current situation in Parliament".

"There's been a swift move lower in the pound. after the government's top lawyer failed to verify claims that the latest concessions from the European Union amount to a legally binding guarantee on the backstop", said XTB analyst David Cheetham.

He said it was a political judgement on whether both Brussels and the United Kingdom will make sufficient efforts to avoid the backstop or make arrangements to replace it, not a legal one.

On a day of high drama in Westminster, the Cabinet gave its backing to the package at its weekly meeting chaired by the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street.

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Her frantic trip sparked anxiety among some MPs, who feared they might not have enough time to scrutinise what she agreed to before being asked to vote. "Let's get this done".

Brexiteers in Mrs May's party had accused her of surrendering to the European Union, and it was not clear if the assurances she agreed to would be enough to win over the 116 additional MPs she needed to turn around the crushing defeat her deal, suffered in January.

In a statement to the Commons, Mr Cox told MPs: "There is no ultimate unilateral right out of this arrangement".

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British lawmakers, who on January 15 voted 432-202 against her deal, were on Tuesday studying the assurances with lawyers. Or, she added, Britain could leave without a deal to soften the shock, a nightmare scenario for many companies.

The immediate reaction was cautious from the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which props up May's minority government.

The Prime Minister claims to have addressed concerns over the Irish backstop, less than 24 hours before a meaningful vote. Others questioned why the assurances were not included in the Withdrawal Agreement.

"The attorney general's advice is that the legal risk remains unchanged", Conservative MP Andrea Jenkyns tweeted.

Labour's shadow Brexit secretary, Sir Keir Starme, said the government's plan was now in tatters.

"Now is the time to come together to back this improved Brexit deal and to deliver on the instruction of the British people", she said.

But by noon, the DUP and the rebel Tory MPs indicated the changes Ms.

However, parliament is expected firmly to reject a "no-deal" Brexit as well, so MPs would then vote again on Thursday - on whether government should request a delay to the leaving date to allow further talks.

"The further agreement yesterday provided additional clarity, reassurance and guarantees sought by some to eliminate doubt or fears, however unreal, that the goal was to trap the United Kingdom indefinitely in the backstop", Varadkar said.

"It is not - these doubts and fears can be put to bed".

Mrs May had dashed off to Strasbourg on Monday for a last-gasp bid to wrest concessions from European Union leaders ahead of Tuesday's parliamentary vote on Britain's planned split from the bloc in just 17 days.

Leader o the opposition Jeremy Corbyn said: "This evening's agreement with the European Commission does not contain anything approaching the changes Theresa May promised Parliament, and whipped her MPs to vote for".



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