UK Parliament throws out May's plan to renegotiate Brexit

Monday, 18 Feb, 2019

Britain will leave the European Union next month without a deal unless the European Union offers concessions that will allow parliament to back Prime Minister Theresa May's divorce deal, Brexit minister Stephen Barclay said on Thursday.

Valentine's Day was another crunch day for May as MPs gathered to vote on a motion she tabled seeking support for her Brexit strategy.

They are so unhappy that many are threatening to abstain or vote down the motion, meaning the Prime Minister could suffer yet another Commons defeat over Brexit.

"The prime minister carries on and she will continue to seek those legally binding changes to the backstop that will enable Parliament to support her deal".

Analysts have said that the defeat would make it more hard for the prime minister in talks with the European Union.

'The irony of all this is that most of us in the Conservative Party we are sufficiently united to want to try to operate a coherent government, ' he said. But this backing evaporated Thursday, when May's motion urging endorsement of her continued negotiations was defeated by 303 votes to 258 with almost a quarter of Tory MPs, 67, abstaining and five voting against her deal.

Commons Speaker John Bercow has selected three amendments for consideration as MPs debate the Government's latest Brexit motion.

Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood told BBC Newsnight the ERG was a "party within a party. flexing its muscle" to take advantage of Mrs May's lack of a Commons majority.

According to the prime minister's spokeswoman Alison Donnelly, May also spoke to the leaders of Austria, Portugal and Sweden and all agreed they want the leave the European Union with a deal. These pro-Brexit Tories are now a major obstacle to May's hopes of striking a new deal in Brussels and then getting it approved in Parliament in London.

That's what's upsetting Brexiters like the ERG wing of the Conservative Party, who do want the backstop changed, but don't want no-deal taken off the table.

After the defeat, in a vote that May did not attend, her office said that her government would continue changes to the existing Withdrawal Agreement in Brussels. The defeat effectively strips May of her political mandate to demand changes to the withdrawal agreement in Brussels, and suggests she has little chance of fending off an attempt by Parliament to take control of the process on February 27.

ERG deputy chairman Steve Baker dismissed the row over Thursday's vote as a "storm in a teacup".

"Essentially that is what will happen unless we don't vote for a deal".

But he added: "We'd like to agree a deal".

When asked by one of the show's presenters whether such resignation en masse could topple May's increasingly shaky government, Mr Grieve replied that,"yes it could and this isn't a desirable outcome".

Labour MPs Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson are calling for an amendment on February 27 that will trade support for the Withdrawal Agreement with a call for a second referendum.