United Kingdom prime minister fights to save Brexit deal
- Author: Rogelio Becker Mar 15, 2019,
Mar 15, 2019, 0:43
He told MPs the government will be issuing the wording of the motion and they would be "fully informed on the government's legal analysis" of whether Theresa May has won any concessions from other European Union states on the backstop arrangements to stop a hard border in Ireland.
On 30 January MPs voted for an amendment by 317 votes to 301 to pass the Brexit deal bill if Theresa May could negotiate changes to the Irish backstop.
In a statement, the European Commission said it had put forward proposals to try and reassure MPs the backstop "if used will apply temporarily".
This is far more likely, given that lawmakers rejected the deal in January by a historic margin of 230 votes.
Pro-Brexit lawmakers have urged May to postpone Tuesday's vote rather than risk another crushing defeat.
Lidington spoke before May and Juncker emerged from their talks.
The EU parliament's Brexit group was meeting to assess the situation in Strasbourg, France before a plenary debate on the impasse. Business leaders, who are already appalled at the failure of the British government to resolve Brexit, would be furious if the country crashed out of the European Union after two years of negotiations.
Mr Lidington told MPs in a late night sitting in the Commons that the PM had secured legally binding changes that "strengthened and improved" the withdrawal agreement.
"But we will do all we can to support people and businesses across Northern Ireland in the event that we leave without a deal".
The Sun suggested Mrs May's deal is the only way of "keeping Corbyn's Marxists out of power" and the Tories "may well pay a awful price - and the country with it" if the party does not back the package.
Nigel Dodds, deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which props up May's minority government, and Steve Baker, a leading figure in the large eurosceptic faction of her Conservative party, warned that May's deal would be defeated. She has already survived votes of no confidence by her own party and Parliament as a whole. However, the text of the 585-page withdrawal agreement remained unchanged.
The British leader has spoken by phone to eight European Union national leaders since late last week, including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, without any sign of a breakthrough.
Merkel said Monday that Juncker and Barnier had made "a multitude of suggestions" over the weekend on the backstop.
Former Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan said Mrs May's position would become untenable if Parliament "dismantled" her Brexit policy in a series of votes during the course of the week.
"If the votes go this week in a way which means that the prime minister's policy as she has set out and stuck to rigidly over the course of the last two-and-a-bit a years is taken away, dismantled slowly by Parliament this week, I think it would be very hard for the prime minister to stay in office for very much longer", Morgan told the BBC.
In a controversial move, she promised a Stronger Towns Fund totalling £1.6 billion (€1.86 billion) to be allocated to the UK's most deprived regions; the fund was widely denounced by the areas' MPs as a transparent attempt to buy votes.
The Britons drinking beer in Brussels had their eyes fixed intently on the James Joyce pub's TV as lawmakers in London said "yea" or "nay" to Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal.
"It is now for the House of Commons to take an important set of decisions this week", Schinas said.