Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Science | By

Theresa May suffers Brexit setback over no-deal scenario

Theresa May suffers Brexit setback over no-deal scenario

MPs have voted to further bind Theresa May's hands on Brexit - if she loses her deal next week - by 308 to 297.

Responding to the vote, Brexit minister Stephen Barclay told parliament it was the government's intention to act quickly if May's Brexit plan was rejected on Tuesday.

The government needs 318 votes to get a deal through parliament as seven Sinn Fein lawmakers do not sit, four speakers and deputy speaker do not vote and the four tellers are not counted.

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd told the cabinet that the public would take a "dim view" of government if it settled for a disorderly Brexit and suggested it would make the United Kingdom less safe.

Earlier on Wednesday, May called on parliament to back her deal.

The vote effectively gives MPs more control over the direction of Brexit policy.

An EU diplomat also told AFP that the idea of delaying Brexit "is a very hypothetical option".

It is likely to prompt an angry response in Brussels, which has repeatedly rejected efforts to put a time limit on the backstop, meant to avoid a hard border in Ireland if no wider trade deal has been agreed.

Mr Grieve said his amendment was an attempt to "accelerate the process" if the vote was lost so as to avoid the prospects of a no-deal Brexit.

He said the choice was between May's deal, no deal or "to reverse the 2016 referendum entirely".

The government initially felt it had seen off the latest "guerilla warfare" plot from the rebels, because it thought the amendment tabled by former cabinet minister Dominic Grieve would not be allowed under Commons rules.


Around 20 Tory MPs defied the government and backed the two motions this week and at least 40 hard-Brexit Tories have vowed to vote against the deal on Tuesday.

A series of MPs rose to complain that the vote should not go ahead as the Government motion should not be amendable.

The Speaker, who insisted he was "trying to do the right thing and make the right judgements", was heckled by Tory MPs as he told Mr Francois the answer to his question was simple.

Some Brexit supporters say a no-deal exit is the only way to truly leave the bloc and that warnings of the economic consequences have been overblown to drum up support for May's plan.

The government has recently made much-publicised preparations for leaving without a deal, with Britain legally due to leave the European Union on Mar 29, regardless of whether May's deal is approved.

"I think he stepped way over the mark out today he's broken with parliamentary precedent". I genuinely think we can't do it on March 29 this year.

Angry Tory Brexiteers questioned the Speaker's impartiality over Brexit in heated exchanges.

However, France's Europe Minister Nathalie Loiseau said "there is nothing more that we can do" - and warned against putting too much faith in talk of extending Article 50.

"I just invite you to reflect on the conclusion that many of us will have inevitably have come to".

Tensions rose even further when Andrea Leadsom, the Commons Leader, who has clashed with the Chair before, asked him to publish the advice of the Commons Clerk.

The leader of the opposition Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn said: "This vote is an important step to prevent a no-deal Brexit".

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