Theresa May suffers Brexit setback over no-deal scenario

Pat Wise
January 9, 2019

The Brexit-supporting Tory MP referenced the cross-party amendment to the finance bill, which was created to provide an obstacle to a hard Brexit.

Several senior figures back the move, but International Trade Secretary Liam Fox called it "irresponsible".

The Conservative MP also drew example from his constituency, where he says a business owner told him that in the event of a no deal Brexit, about a third of his 60 staff "would have to go".

The 303 to 296 defeat means that the government needs explicit parliamentary approval to leave the European Union without a deal before it can use certain powers relating to taxation law.

Their goal is to ensure that a "no deal" Brexit could only be delivered with the explicit consent of Parliament - something that is unlikely, given that a majority of lawmakers oppose such an outcome.

"If the deal is not voted on at this vote that's coming up, then actually we're going to be in uncharted territory", May said on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.

British Prime Minister Theresa May's office had played down the technical impact of defeat.

The Labour leader said ministers were "fooling nobody" with preparations for no-deal, and said Mrs May would not be allowed to run down the clock to secure support for her Brexit deal. The date of the vote was pushed back until after Christmas after minister accepted that the deal was heading for a crushing defeat.

Assets worth almost 800 billion pounds are being moved from Britain to new financial hubs in the European Union ahead of Brexit, said EY.

Speaking at a technology fair in California, Mr Fox said it would not take the possibility of a no-deal exit off the table. "Brexit was a problem created in the United Kingdom, the inability of the United Kingdom to ratify the withdrawal agreement is a problem in Westminster and we are really looking to them for a solution". Five days of debate in the Commons will begin on Wednesday.

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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Tuesday (11 December) that the EU would be open to offer "clarifications" to British Prime Minister Theresa May, but insisted that the withdrawal agreement was the "best possible, the only possible" deal.

Hundreds of MPs - including more than 20 Tories have signed a letter urging Theresa May to rule out a no-deal Brexit if her package is defeated. Critics of May's deal to smooth Britain's passage out of the European Union on 29 March say the backstop could leave Britain subject to European Union rules indefinitely, long after it gives up any say over them.

"We will not be leaving with no deal", he said.

"But the fact is we're need a compromise to take this forward in a way that works for the bulk of the country and I think that's a genuine attempt by the Prime Minister to do that".

The Brexit deal took almost 2 years to negotiate and only covers separation issues, leaving open the future relationship - but it has provoked anger on all sides in London.

A junior British minister, Margot James, added fuel to the fire on Monday by suggesting the government may have to delay Brexit if it loses next week's vote.

"Article 50 will not be extended".

The vote on the cross-party amendment is expected at about 19:00 GMT.

"Parliament has now asserted its authority and sovereignty and effectively exposed the threat of no deal as an empty one".

"There are no negotiations, because all we have on the table is what we consider given, acquired and approved", he said.

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