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More Brexit embarrassment for May as parliament defeats her again


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More Brexit embarrassment for May as parliament defeats her again

By Elizabeth Piper, Kylie MacLellan and William James

 

2019-02-14T184634Z_1_LYNXNPEF1D1O7_RTROPTP_4_BRITAIN-EU.JPG

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is pictured outside the Houses of Parliament, in London, Britain, February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

 

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a defeat on her Brexit strategy on Thursday that undermined her pledge to European Union leaders to get her divorce deal approved if they grant her concessions.

 

In a show of muscle, hardline Brexit supporters in her Conservative Party decided to abstain, handing her an embarrassing, albeit symbolic, defeat as she tries to renegotiate her deal with the EU.

 

While it will not deter May from trying to secure changes on the most contentious issue of the deal - the Irish "backstop" - the vote does show that her pro-Brexit lawmakers are a major obstacle to passing any agreement.

 

May was absent from the House of Commons for the debate and the outcome of the vote, which deepened the sense of political crisis over Britain's departure, more than two years after voters opted to leave the bloc by a margin of 52 percent to 48.

 

The crunch vote is now expected to come on Feb. 27, when May is due to return to parliament - and lawmakers who fear leaving without a deal could try to seize control of Britain's departure from the EU.

 

DEAL, NO DEAL, NO BREXIT?

The latest twist in the two-year negotiation to leave the EU underlines the rifts in parliament over how, or even whether, Britain should leave the bloc, its biggest political and trade policy shift in more than 40 years.

 

It increases the possibility of Britain leaving without a deal, a nightmare scenario for many businesses, but also of Brexit being delayed or potentially never happening at all.

 

May's spokesman said she still believed parliament wanted her to keep pressing for changes to the Brexit deal: "The government will continue to pursue this with the EU to ensure we leave on time on 29th March."

 

EU leaders, meanwhile, have repeatedly said there can be no substantive change to the legally binding withdrawal agreement containing the backstop, a guarantee that there can be no return of border controls between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland.

 

With trust in the prime minister at an all-time low, one Conservative pro-Brexit lawmaker said the government could no longer ignore eurosceptics' views.

 

"While the vote might not be of substantive importance, what it does do is to tell the government that they really can't take Brexiteers for granted," the lawmaker said on condition of anonymity.

 

With many Conservative lawmakers abstaining, the government defeat on its motion reaffirming support for May's strategy was a heavy one, at 303 votes to 258.

 

RUNNING DOWN THE CLOCK?

The pro-Brexit European Research Group (ERG), several dozen strong, had said they would defy May unless she dispelled their concern that she might after all baulk at a no-deal exit.

 

Ministers were keen to shrug off the defeat.

 

"The fact that ERG colleagues abstain is sending a message that they still want to find a way forward and find a solution," said Robert Buckland, the solicitor general.

 

ERG members say ruling out a no-deal Brexit would not only weaken Britain's negotiating hand but also remove what, for many, is the desired end-point: the cleanest possible break.

 

But some Conservative and many opposition lawmakers accuse May of "running down the clock", edging Britain closer to the exit date to try to force parliament into a choice between backing her deal or leaving without an agreement.

 

A majority of lawmakers agree with businesses, which say that outcome would be catastrophic for the world's fifth largest economy: causing delays at ports, fracturing crucial international supply chains and hindering investment.

 

Opposition Labour lawmaker Alison McGovern said it was time to stop the clock on Brexit.

 

"In any normal circumstances, this would be general election territory. It is clear that the prime minister cannot easily command a majority in the House of Commons, and that is central to our system," she told Reuters.

 

(Additional reporting by Andrew MacAskill and James Davey, Gabriela Baczynska in Brussels; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge, Elizabeth Piper and Michael Holden; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-02-15
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Whether a person is for or against Brexit doesn't really matter at this point; crashing out of the EU without some agreement in place is irresponsible madness. It is the equivalent of moving out of one's flat without another place to live.

 

Never before have I seen a country so utterly determined to shoot itself in the crotch.

 

 

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@Aright in the last thread said- 

 

I read today over the past four quarters UK GDP has risen by 1.3%, France by 0.9%, Germany by 0.6% and Italy by 0.1%.

Things have got worse for Germany, in the last 6 mths their GDP has fallen by 0.1% while the UK's GDP has gone up by 0.8%.

Where France is concerned their figures are overstated. Their growth apparently has been fueled by rocketing sales of yellow vests and stun grenades.

 

 Unfortunately it got it wrong. 1.3% is the UK year on year figure, .9% is the French last quarter figure, year on year was 1.4% just beating the UK. Germany was 1.5% and Italy .6%

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The Brexit fiasco is at least informing us on the dire situation British politics is facing. The chosen winners of the last election have shown themselves to be totally divided over this issue and the opposition is making little or no inroads into its fight to overtake. Perhaps the British have finally decided that politicians are just not to be trusted to do what the electorate want but the time appears to be ripe for new parties to make an appearance. The old ones look to be intent on just pulling themselves apart.

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1 hour ago, Samui Bodoh said:

Whether a person is for or against Brexit doesn't really matter at this point; crashing out of the EU without some agreement in place is irresponsible madness. It is the equivalent of moving out of one's flat without another place to live.

 

Never before have I seen a country so utterly determined to shoot itself in the crotch.

 

 

But it isn't, hence the fighting. Leaving the EU without a deal is the work of a small but vocal minority - many Brexiteers don't want no deal either.

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20 minutes ago, Lungstib said:

The Brexit fiasco is at least informing us on the dire situation British politics is facing. The chosen winners of the last election have shown themselves to be totally divided over this issue and the opposition is making little or no inroads into its fight to overtake. Perhaps the British have finally decided that politicians are just not to be trusted to do what the electorate want but the time appears to be ripe for new parties to make an appearance. The old ones look to be intent on just pulling themselves apart.

Was thinking exactly the same myself... How bad must our politicians be when even the opposition party is fighting amongst itself whilst there's an open door to government waiting for them to walk through.

 

Whether you're for or against Brexit, I think we can all agree that it really has divided the nation... 

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6 minutes ago, baboon said:

But it isn't, hence the fighting. Leaving the EU without a deal is the work of a small but vocal minority - many Brexiteers don't want no deal either.

 

 

I agree. I have no desire for a no deal exit..................... I would take no deal, come 29th March, if those concerned cannot get consensus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Chomper Higgot said:

Which raises the question Brexit with no deal or no Brexit?

 

 

May's deal. Neither side get what they want, but the Brexiteers can't say that we haven't left. If they aren't happy with the terms and conditions, tough. Take it up with David Cameron.

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6 minutes ago, sammieuk1 said:

I suggest adopting the euro as a compromise or rice as the millionaire Tories have turned our pound to junk with their toff power struggle 🤔  

 

 

It has certainly helped to deflect attention from the unhelpful/uncompromising EU.

 

 

British Parliament is certainly shooting itself in the foot, but am I the only one with a burning hatred for Junker/Tusk et al for doing nothing to help towards a smooth transition.

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