Good morning. Here’s your daily Politics Update.
May reveals Brexit Plan B: Buy more time with Brussels
Speaking on Monday, not long after Tuesday’s planned ‘meaningful vote’ had officially been delayed by the government at the last minute, May admitted that “if we went ahead and held the vote tomorrow the deal would be rejected by a significant margin”.
Launching a Plan B approach, the prime minister will now hold crunch meetings with EU leaders over the coming days, in an attempt to seek “further assurances” that the Northern Ireland backstop will never come into force – the backstop is the most controversial element of May’s Brexit deal.
She will now meet with her Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte, in The Hague on Tuesday morning to attempt to gain reassurance on the backstop, which is unlikely to be given. Even if May can collect a significant number of letters from EU leaders reassuring that the backstop would only be ‘temporary’, this may not satisfy hardline Brexiters in her party.
European council president Donald Tusk said on Monday, as reports of the delayed vote began to pour in, that the EU would “not renegotiate the deal, including the backstop, but we are ready to discuss how to facilitate UK ratification.”
Tusk also confirmed that the bloc would be ramping up their no-deal preparations:
I have decided to call #EUCO on #Brexit (Art. 50) on Thursday. We will not renegotiate the deal, including the backstop, but we are ready to discuss how to facilitate UK ratification. As time is running out, we will also discuss our preparedness for a no-deal scenario.
— Charles Michel (@eucopresident) December 10, 2018
Labour successfully calls for emergency debate on ‘meaningful vote’
Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow has allowed for an emergency debate on the delayed meaningful vote to take place, after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for it on Monday afternoon.
After the ‘meaningful vote’ on Theresa May’s Brexit deal was delayed by the government in a controversial move on Monday, Corbyn accused May of showing ‘disregard’ for parliament, and called for an emergency debate to be held.
The debate will take place on Tuesday, and is likely to go on for a number of hours in the Commons. MPs from all sides criticised the prime minister after the vote on her Brexit deal was delayed to avoid a catastrophic loss, and Tuesday’s debate is likely to see many more voices roundly condemn the government’s recent actions.
Left-wing coalition urges Labour to oppose Brexit
A coalition of the left wing Momentum sector of Labour supporters, along with local party chairs and local councillors, has created a group aimed at urging the party to scrap their commitment to Brexit in any snap election manifesto that is produced.
In the event that a snap election is called, either as a last-ditch attempt at gaining authority by Theresa May, or by an opportunistic Labour party at her weakest moment, the pop-up coalition group wishes to see their party introduce a fresh poll rather than back the current Brexit state of play.
40 Labour activists from the group wrote to the Guardian saying: “As Labour members and supporters, we want our party to fight in the months ahead, including in any general election campaign, to stop the anti-working class disaster that is Brexit,” it said, adding that there is “concern that the party’s policy is “shifting, but is not yet committed to stopping Brexit”.
Labour MP suspended from Commons for grabbing ceremonial mace in Brexit protest
Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle caused a stir in the Commons yesterday when he grabbed the ceremonial mace – a symbol of the Queen’s authority – to protest to Theresa May’s decision to postpone the parliament vote on her Brexit deal.
As yesterday’s dramatic events in the Commons reached their conclusion, The Brighton Kemptown MP grabbed the mace, raising it and marching several feet with it, before Commons officials took it back and restored it to its place, whilst several MPs shouted “Disgrace” and “Expel him”.
The mace is a symbol of the Queen’s authority in parliament. Without it, parliament cannot meet or pass laws.
After the incident, Speaker John Bercow ordered that Russell-Moyle should leave the Commons. The MP initially stood still, before Bercow insisted “No, no. He must leave or be escorted. He should leave.”
Speaking to reporters outside the session, Russell-Moyle said: “They stopped me before I got out of the chamber and I wasn’t going to struggle with someone wearing a huge sword on their hip.”