Theresa May clears path for key vote days before Brexit

Cornelia Mascio
Febbraio 12, 2019

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May walks to greet Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat at Downing Street in London, Britain, February 11, 2019.

However, in response, Jeremy Corbyn said May had offered MPs only "more excuses and more delays".

"So our work continues", she said.

A Cabinet minister has insisted there is "no chance" of Theresa May accepting Labour's vision for leaving the EU, despite speculation she could soften her stance on customs union membership.

In a statement updating the Commons on progress in Brexit talks, Mrs May acknowledged she would need "some time" to seek legally-binding changes from the European Union to the controversial backstop for the Irish border.

"By getting the changes we need to the backstop; by protecting and enhancing workers' rights and environmental protections; and by enhancing the role of parliament in the next phase of negotiations I believe we can reach a deal that this House can support", May will say.

Having discussed it with the head of the European commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, May told MPs: "As expected, President Juncker maintained the EU's position that they will not reopen the withdrawal agreement".

"The talks are at a crucial stage".

"We now all need to hold our nerve to get the changes this House requires and deliver Brexit on time", she said.

The only notable update provided by the PM was confirmation that the amendable vote on Brexit to be debated on Thursday will reflect the words of the Brady measure.

May reiterated her rejection of a customs union, which was one of five demands made by Corbyn if she wanted Labour to back her deal.

May rejected Labour's suggestion that the United Kingdom should enter into a customs union with the EU after Brexit, pointing out that the House of Commons has already voted against the option.

The prime minister made a fresh appeal to potentially wavering Labour MPs by stressing her post-Brexit commitment to environmental and workers' rights, reiterating the offer made in her response to Corbyn that parliament could vote on whether to match any future European Union changes in these areas.

"Every time somebody votes against the, the risk of no-deal increases", she declared.

May confirmed her promise to give Parliament another chance to vote on what happens next by February 27, if no deal has been agreed - and endorsed in the Commons - before then.

She said a parliamentary vote on May's deal, overwhelmingly rejected by lawmakers last month, would be held as soon as "it possibly can" and the issue around the backstop, an insurance policy to prevent a return of border controls in Ireland, had been resolved. This is an irresponsible act. "She is playing for time and playing with people's jobs, our economic security and the future of our industry".

The Speaker, John Bercow, on being told what Blackford had said, told him to withdraw the accusation "at once".

May told the House of Commons the U.K.'s demand for a renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement are "reasonable" given that neither side wants to enter into the Irish backstop in the first place.

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