Politics update: May’s deal suffers second Commons defeat, EU says UK needs ‘credible reason’ to delay Brexit

Politics update 20.05.2019

MPs reject May’s Brexit deal for a second time


Theresa May’s deal was rejected for a second time in the House of Commons on Tuesday evening, when the ‘meaningful vote’ resulted in 391 MPs voting against the deal, versus 242 in favour.

The prime minister took to the dispatch box moments after the defeat to announce that she still believed her deal was ‘the only deal’, but confirmed that parliament would now move on to the next votes: whether to leave the EU without a deal, and, subsequently, whether to seek an extension to article 50.

The prime minister had made a last-minute trip to Strasbourg in order to once again try to reach a compromise which would help pass her Brexit deal through parliament.

After the meeting, May called for MPs to “come together” and back her deal, claiming she has secured legally binding changes which would convince those in parliament that fear the Irish border backstop could ‘trap’ the UK indefinitely.

However, in the final hours before the vote, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox issued legal advice which admitted that Britain could still be locked in the backstop indefinitely, adding that the “legal risk remains unchanged.”

Tusk: UK must have credible reason to delay Brexit

Donald Tusk

Donald Tusk has warned that the UK must have a credible reason in order to extend article 50 beyond the 29 March and push back the Brexit deadline.

The European council president issued his EU red line shortly after Theresa May saw her deal defeated in the Commons for a second time on Tuesday evening, moments after the prime minister announced that parliament would now be voting on whether to seek an extension to article 50.

Speaking on Tuesday, a spokesman for Tusk said: “Should there be a UK reasoned request for an extension, the EU27 will consider it and decide by unanimity,”

“The EU27 will expect a credible justification for a possible extension and its duration. The smooth functioning of the EU institutions will need to be ensured.”

ERG: No-deal still possible even if MPs vote against it


The European Research Group (ERG) has said that a No-deal Brexit is still possible, even if House of Commons votes on Wednesday against the option.

Speaking shortly after Theresa May’s Brexit deal was defeated in the Commons for a second time on Tuesday, ERG chair Jacob Rees-Mogg said that whilst a softer Brexit was more likely after the vote, there was also an increased possibility of no-deal.

Members of the ERG, one of Britain’s leading Eurosceptic political groups, have continually called for the option of a No-deal Brexit to be kept on the table.

Speaking on Tuesday, Rees-Mogg said “Our consensus view is that [a soft Brexit] is a risk but one that will not materialise. [The European commission president Jean-Claude] Juncker has said there will be no more negotiations so I think our expectations are that we will leave without a deal.”

What the papers say

The Daily Mail

The Sun

The Telegraph

The Times

The Times front page 13.03.2019

The Guardian

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