With government split, British MPs seek new Brexit plan

Brexit,World news,Theresa May
British Prime Minister Theresa May
Author

02 April, 2019

Justice Secretary David Gauke, who voted in the 2016 referendum to stay in the European Union, said it would be irresponsible for the government to take Britain out of the bloc without a deal, and that ministers will have to consider very carefully the outcome of discussions in Parliament to find an alternative deal on Brexit.

After May's plan suffered three defeats in Parliament, and with Britain due to leave the European Union on April 12, lawmakers seized temporary control of the parliamentary agenda to try to find a way forward.

Rob Dobson, director at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey, said: "Manufacturers reported a surge of business activity in March as companies stepped up their preparations for potential Brexit-related disruptions".

The main opposition Labour Party is backing two proposals which would keep Britain close to the European Union after Brexit, but both would face strong resistance from May and most of her Brexit-backing ministers. A Deltapoll on Sunday found support for Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party at 41 per cent, with the Tories on 36 per cent - potentially producing a minority Labour government.

British lawmakers plan another round of votes Monday to see whether they can come to an agreement on a way for Britain to leave the bloc.

If only 15 Labour MPs could be converted into supporters too, her deal would scrape though at this spectacularly late juncture - and that might happen if the PM were to write into the body of her latest meaningful-vote motion the essence of the amendment laid last week by the Labour MPs Gareth Snell and Lisa Nandy.

May has ruled out all the ideas under consideration.

But the divorce deal she negotiated with the European Union has been rejected by Parliament three times, leaving Britain less than two weeks from a chaotic no-deal Brexit.

But it has been roundly rejected by lawmakers on both sides of the Brexit divide.

Conservative former Attorney General Dominic Grieve, who has campaigned for a further referendum on the deal, is facing deselection after losing a vote of no-confidence in his Beaconsfield constituency.

Northern Ireland's DUP - which has propped up Mrs May's minority government - also continues to oppose the deal. The date was postponed to allow Mrs May more time to find a Brexit solution.

May's spokesman, James Slack, Slack rejected speculation that the government could take drastic action, such as asking Queen Elizabeth II to suspend Parliament or getting her to refuse to sign legislation.

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FDF chief executive Ian Wright said: "After today's [March 29] vote, Parliament must lead us out of our current shambles".

MPs also rejected proposals for a second referendum which some campaigners believe would break the deadlock in Parliament. But the Conservatives are anxious that could hand power to the opposition Labour Party.

He said the Cabinet will meet on Tuesday (Wednesday NZT) to discuss options.

The range of choices, and lack of consensus, reflect a Parliament and a government deeply divided over how - and whether - to leave the EU.

Some ministers including Justice Secretary David Gauke had hinted at a pivot towards a customs union if there was enough support in Parliament. "I don't think the British people would thank us if we left without a deal".

The Brexit impasse has alarmed businesses, who say the uncertainty has deterred investment and undermined economic growth.

Earlier today the Tories' chief whip said the government had failed to communicate the "inevitably" softer Brexit May negotiated with the EU.

Juergen Maier warned that the United Kingdom used to be a "beacon for stability", but is now becoming a "laughing stock".

European Union leaders have called an emergency summit on April 10 and warned that unless Britain sets out a plan, it risks cutting ties with its largest trading partner two days later with no deal at all.

"Up to now, we know what the British parliament says no to, but we do not know what it says yes to".

This motion seeks to put any Brexit deal agreed by parliament before the public before it can go ahead.


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