UK MPs to vote on part of May’s Brexit deal
London: UK Prime Minister Theresa May will put only half of her Brexit deal to a vote on Friday, the day Britain was originally meant to leave the European Union.
MPs will vote on the withdrawal agreement, which sets out the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU. May had promised to step aside if the MPs give her their approval.
The Prime Minister has already lost two votes on the full Brexit deal by large margins, and Commons Speaker John Bercow has ruled out bringing the same motion back a third time without “substantial” changes.
The Friday vote is May’s final attempt to secure MPs’ support as senior Cabinet ministers made clear earlier that she must leave No 10 “very soon”, the Guardian reported.
According to ministers, their backing is vital if Britain is to avoid a disorderly exit. But opposition Labour Party said it will vote against it, saying that denying MPs a say on the political declaration section of the deal, which outlines the shape of future UK-EU relations, is a “blindfold Brexit”.
Around 30 Eurosceptic Tories and the 10 Democratic Unionist MPs were also holding out against the Brexit deal.
The fresh vote, if it passes, would secure a delay until May 22. It will not allow Parliament to ratify the entire withdrawal package, because the law allows this only after the passage of a “meaningful vote” on both parts of the deal, the BBC reported.
MPs will be warned that failure to back the withdrawal agreement this time will lead to a long extension that requires participation in European Parliament elections or crashing out without a deal on April 12.
With European leaders sceptical that such efforts will be successful, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier told diplomats on Thursday that a no deal was now “the most plausible outcome” and ordered work to begin on wargaming the bloc’s response.
No 10 insisted that it could still make progress, arguing that passing the withdrawal agreement alone will allow the UK to avoid a cliff-edge Brexit in April and secure another five weeks to renegotiate the political declaration in order win support for the deal in its entirety.
But according to the BBC, with Labour and the Democratic Unionist Party planning to vote against it, it looked like May was heading for another loss.
Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood told BBC Newsnight: “There are some big challenges here. It’s a key day and probably the last opportunity to get this particular motion across.”