Politics update: Amendment to postpone Brexit sees growing support, May forces ministers to keep no-deal option open

Theresa May

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Motion to postpone Brexit sees growing support in parliament

Yvette Cooper Brexit

Labour’s Yvette Cooper, who tabled the motion to delay Article 50.

The amendment tabled by Labour’s Yvette Cooper and former Conservative ministers Sir Oliver Letwin and Nick Boles, which would delay article 50 in order to prevent the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, appears to have growing support in the Commons.

The amendment would see Britain stay in the EU past the original 29 March deadline, if a deal is not reached by the 26 February. This would prevent Britain crashing out without a deal.

Labour sources said on Tuesday that Jeremy Corbyn “seriously considering” throwing the weight of his party behind the motion. Within hours of the Cooper-Boles amendment being tabled, it had already been signed by four Tory MPs, 23 Labour MPs, plus members of the Liberal Democrats and Welsh and Scottish nationalist parties.

Adding to the growing support was Work and Pensions secretary Amber Rudd, who told Theresa May earlier this week that up to 40 cabinet ministers could resign if faced with the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, and asked the PM to allow a free vote on the Cooper-Boles motion.

May plans to force ministers to vote against cross-party amendments

Politics update 23-01-2019

Theresa May intends to force ministers to keep the option of a no-deal Brexit on the table, by instructing them to vote against any amendments that undermine the position of the government.

As talks of parliament ‘seizing control’ of the Brexit process emerge, the prime minister plans to whip her ministers against cross-party plans that take control from her government. This would include the proposal by Labour’s Yvette Cooper, which seeks to delay article 50 if no agreement is reached by 26 February.

Amber Rudd is now urging the prime minister to allow a free vote on Cooper’s amendment, however May has thus far have refused to allow it, and most believe that she will not give way.

The reports come soon after the prime minister was warned that up to 40 of her MPs could resign if they are prevented from voting for an amendment blocking a no-deal Brexit.

Ireland’s Leo Varadkar speaks out on hard border

Leo Varadkar Brexit

Irish taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that the UK and Ireland would need to arrange a ‘bilateral agreement’ on ‘full alignment’ of customs in order to avoid a hard border with Northern Ireland, should Britain crash out of the EU without a deal.

The move marks the first time Varadkar has hinted at the possibility of a seperate deal with the UK that may not involve negotiating with the EU, in order to avoid a hard border.

Speaking on Tuesday, Varadkar said: “Both the UK and Ireland will have an obligation to honour the Good Friday agreement, protect the peace process and honour our commitment to the people of Ireland and Northern Ireland, that there won’t be a hard border,”

“We’d have to negotiate an agreement on customs and regulations that meant full alignment, so there will be no hard border.”

His remarks came after the chief spokesman for Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, said on Tuesday that it was “pretty obvious” that border infrastructure would be needed in the event of a no-deal scenario – full story below.

Juncker spokesman: “pretty obvious” that hard border would be needed in no-deal scenario

Brexit UK and EU Agree on Withdrawal Agreement

The chief spokesman for Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, has appeared to confirm a hard border would be enforced between Ireland and Northern Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking on Tuesday, Juncker’s spokesman it was “pretty obvious” border infrastructure would be necessary if Britain left the EU without a deal.

“If you were to push me to speculate on what might happen in a no-deal scenario in Ireland, I think it is pretty obvious you will have a hard border, and our commitments to the Good Friday agreement and everything we have been doing for years with our tools, instruments and programmes will have to take inevitably into account this fact,” he said.

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