UK's no-deal Brexit truck 'war game' prompts scorn

Gina Miller
Gina Miller

09 January, 2019

Twenty Conservatives supported an amendment tabled by Labour former minister Yvette Cooper to the Budget-enacting Finance (No. 3) Bill, according to the division list.

But Britain has been headed in that direction because May has been unable to persuade a majority in Parliament to back the divorce deal her government negotiated with the EU.

Writing in the Guardian, Ms Cooper said a no-deal Brexit would cause "deep and long-lasting" damage, and the country "can't afford to play Brexit chicken and wait to see who blinks first".

"The real question for Members of Parliament who voted to give the public a say through the European referendum in 2016, who voted in large numbers to trigger Article 50, is the outcome of triggering Article 50 is you either have a deal and the EU have been clear that the only deal on the table is the PM's deal".

Mrs May said on Sunday that Britain would be in uncharted territory if her Brexit deal is rejected by parliament, despite little sign that she has won over sceptical lawmakers. "That is why we are taking every opportunity possible in parliament to prevent no deal".

Mrs May will then close the five-day debate ahead of the vote on the afternoon of January 15.

May is set to put the deal to lawmakers next week, and has been in talks with several European Union leaders about fresh guarantees.

She also alleged her deal was the only one that respects the UK's 2016 referendum result, in which 52 percent of Britons voted to leave the EU.

With a raft of other legislation still needing to be approved before Brexit day, that signals further difficulties for the government if it pursues a no-deal exit.

Downing Street announced a new 21-strong Cabinet sub-committee including the Secretary of State for Scotland is being formed to take charge of decision-making on no-deal Brexit contingencies, and future trade planning.

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Brexit minister Martin Callanan told reporters in Brussels that May's government was not going to seek an extension to the countdown despite calls from some British politicians for a brake on the chaotic and uncertain Brexit process.

The vote had originally been scheduled for December 10, but May postponed it, admitting in the House of Commons that it would have been "rejected by a significant margin".

Many Conservative MPs continue to believe the deal does not represent the Brexit the country voted for, and some are actively calling for Britain to leave with no deal.

European Union officials familiar with the discussions said they saw little sign of any shift in the position of European Union leaders last month, when they said the agreement could not be renegotiated and they would make no binding commitments that could be construed as altering it.

Labour MP Ian Murray, who backs the People's Vote campaign for another referendum, said it showed that a no-deal exit was an "empty threat".

"There was no suggestion that we would pay £39 billion for nothing, without even a sniff of a trade deal with Brussels".

Speaking to Matt Stadlen, the Tory MP said that the Prime Minister's Brexit deal is the right option because the "British people are pragmatic".

Around 2,000 new European roles have been created by financial services companies in response to Brexit, with Dublin, Luxembourg, Frankfurt and Paris the most popular locations, EY said.

However, according to a new survey by polling company OBR, published on Monday, only 18 percent of the 2,000 United Kingdom voters surveyed support the Government's Brexit deal, while 59 percent are opposed.

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