United Kingdom leader may let Parliament decide on Brexit backstop

Theresa May rejected calls to delay a vote by MPs on her Brexit deal but left open the possibility to give lawmakers a vote on whether to enter into the Northern Ireland backstop on Thursday (6 December).

She might also look for some tweaks to the Brexit package, but she'd need Brussels' and finally the House of Commons' agreement.

He told Sky News: "What we are heading for is a Brexit that is Brexit in name only, which is what one might argue Norway is, so that's Brexit not at all, or Remain".

"It's having the answer to that question of substance that is most important, not the timing, so if that question can be answered in the course of the next few days then all well and good".

He predicted that no consensus would be found in the Commons and the issue would have to be put to a second referendum.

Opening debate on the deal she struck in Brussels last month, Mrs May warned: "Don't imagine that if we vote this down another deal is going to miraculously appear".

The contempt of parliament motion tabled by Labour and other opposition parties, including PM Theresa May's confidence and supply partners, the DUP, was passed by 311 votes to 293.

Amid all the confusion, a disorderly no-deal can not be ruled out.

"Now, there are pros and cons of both sides of that".

Supporters of Brexit have said that if Brexit is reversed, the United Kingdom will be thrust into a constitutional crisis as what they say the financial and political elite will have thwarted the democratic will of the people.

"A no-deal scenario would blow these figures out of the water", the CBI's director-general, Carolyn Fairbairn, said, reiterating her organisation's support for Mrs May's plan. Which is why this week's debate in Parliament over the terms of withdrawal is crucial.

The backstop is unpopular both among Conservative Brexiteers who believe it could keep the Britain indefinitely tied to the European Union and Democratic Unionist Party MPs propping up May's government who say it is a threat to Nothern Ireland's status in the UK.

Andrea Leadsom, leader of the Commons, said the government was "committed to leaving the European Union in line with the referendum" and warned the alternative risks Britain "leaving the European Union on March 29 next year without a deal".

Mrs May is trying to get her deal approved by a Parliament that shows every sign of striking it down in a vote next Tuesday.

"I think members on both sides know she has worked phenomenally hard to try to secure the best agreement", he said.

He said he would be "keeping my word to my town", writing: "I appreciate me voting this way and not supporting a People's Vote, are counter to the Liberal Democrats' formal position".

"Are there things which I am uneasy about?"

It is not clear what she can do.

However, sources say changes could be made only to the 26-page political declaration on the future relationship rather than the 585-page withdrawal agreement.

It was claimed today that at least 10 Cabinet ministers could back a Norway-style Brexit to break the impasse. It is not necessarily going to be used, in fact it's not meant to be used.

A no-deal Brexit would leave Britain fractured and divided and be a "very, very bad outcome" for the country.

But many members of Parliament worry that the transition period is a bridge to nowhere.

But he said that the full scale of work required to prepare Dover for the border checks required under a WTO scenario could not be completed by Brexit day on March 29.

Among the likely options MPs would consider, should the Grieve amendment be triggered, might be that Great Britain would stay in a permanent customs union with the EU, engage in a membership agreement in the single EU market or decide on a new referendum where voters would again decide whether to leave the EU - a "do over" of the original Brexit vote.

Asked to rank the deal/no deal/remain options in order of preference, just the Tory constituencies of Christchurch and Broxbourne picked Mrs May's deal as first choice.

  • Eleanor Harrison