Britain in Brexit chaos - parliament crushes May's European Union deal again

Frederick Owens
March 15, 2019

"The Attorney General's legal advice is clear in his last paragraph "the legal risk remains unchanged that if through no such demonstrable failure of either party, but simply because of intractable differences, that situation does arise, the United Kingdom would have, at least while the fundamental circumstances remained the same, no internationally lawful means of exiting the protocol's arrangements, save by agreement".

Theresa May struck a deal to revise the terms of the U.K.'s divorce from the European Union but it's unclear whether she's done enough to win Parliament's support in a crucial vote on Tuesday.

"If there is a solution to the current impasse, it can only be found in London", it said, adding that "today's vote has significantly increased the likelihood of a "no-deal" Brexit".

It would also raise the possibility of a delay to Brexit, with further votes on leaving without a deal and postponing Britain's departure date set for later in the week if May's deal falls.

"If MPs vote for Theresa May's Brexit deal, we edge closer to understanding exactly how and when Brexit will play out but whether that is positive or negative for the pound depends on the deal itself".

May also promised a "Unilateral Declaration" from the United Kingdom government, saying that ministers believe "there would be nothing to prevent the United Kingdom instigating measures that would ultimately dis-apply the backstop" if talks with the European Union break down. Others questioned why the assurances were not included in the Withdrawal Agreement.

Brexit-supporting lawmakers in May's party had accused her of botching the negotiations with Brussels.

MPs are due to vote on Mrs May's Brexit deal later.

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While she lost, the margin of defeat was smaller than the record 230-vote loss her deal suffered in January.

"Discussions are ongoing between ourselves and the EU", May's spokesman told reporters, insisting that Tuesday's vote would take place as planned. Afterward, hard-core Brexit supporters in May's Conservative Party and the prime minister's allies in Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party both said they could not support the deal.

However, May could come back with another attempt at a meaningful vote at some point over the course of the week, especially if she only loses by a narrow amount.

And if that is turned down MPs will have a third vote in three days on whether to extend Article 50 and delay Brexit.

She needs to get a simple majority in House of Commons to get her Brexit deal approved.

Earlier on Monday, talks were said by government sources to be deadlocked and May was locked away in Downing Street for much of the day, apart from a brief appearance to give a bible reading at a service for Commonwealth Day.

If EU leaders say no to a short extension but yes to a longer extension MPs will then have to vote on the offer of a longer extension.

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