Politics update: EU leaders reject May’s call for help on backstop, Labour increases pressure on the government

Politics Update 14.12.2018 EU Leaders Reject Theresa May

Good morning. Here’s your daily Politics Update.

EU rejects May’s call for help

Jean-Claude Juncker

EU leaders have rejected the idea of providing Theresa May with concessions to sell her Brexit deal, leaving the PM to return empty handed from her most recent Brussels trip.

The prime minister travelled to Brussels on Thursday with the hope of securing further reassurances from the 27 EU leaders that the Irish backstop was only temporary, seeking to set a 12 month limit on the measure.

Originally, EU leaders were prepared to release a statement which included lines detailing that they were “ready to examine whether any further assurance can be provided”, and that the backstop “does not represent a desirable outcome for the union”.

However, when May showed up to Brussels without any new documented proposals for EU leaders to consider, they decided to subsequently remove those reassuring lines from their statement.

In addition, whilst Angela Merkel has thus far supported the idea of implementing a 12-month limit on the Irish backstop, this was rejected by leaders from Ireland, France, Sweden, Spain and Belgium on Thursday.

May had told EU leaders: “we have to change the perception that the backstop is a trap”, but this latest development is unlikely to provide any reassurances to Brexiter MPs in the Commons, whose support is much needed to see the PM’s Brexit deal through the Commons.

MPs vote on Brexit deal definitely not before Christmas

Theresa May has confirmed that the ‘meaningful vote’ on her Brexit deal will not take place before Christmas, after scrapping the 11 December date originally planned.

A spokesperson for Theresa May said on Thursday that “there will be no meaningful vote before Christmas”, whilst the prime minister holds meetings with EU leaders over the coming days.

The spokesperson added that the government was aiming to hold the vote “as soon as possible in January”. May said earlier this week that she would like to see the vote held before the 21st of the month.

Labour attempts to stop government ‘running down the clock’ on Brexit

Kier Starmer Jeremy Corbyn

The Labour party will attempt to increase pressure on the government to hold the ‘meaningful vote’ on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, after No 10 said the deal will not be taking place before Christmas.

The party believes that further delays to the vote will mean that Theresa May will be able to avoid the judgement of parliament, and that she is unlikely to win any meaningful changes to the deal in the coming weeks.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Thursday: “There must be no more dither and delay, or attempts to run down the clock in an attempt to deny parliament alternative options,”

“People and businesses need certainty. The prime minister should put her deal before parliament next week in our country’s interest.”

The party has not ruled out the option of tabling a motion of no-confidence in the government, with shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer believed to be pushing for the party to do so in recent meetings.

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