Theresa May tells MPS to 'hold our nerve' over Brexit deal

Jeannie Matthews
February 13, 2019

Will Theresa May ever have Brexit deal ready?

Once again, Theresa May is putting off the day of reckoning. It had been billed as another chance for MPs to try to extend article 50 or seek to prevent a no-deal departure, after an initial motion at the end of last month saw the Commons turn down such ideas, and instead opt for a scheme by the leading Tory backbencher Graham Brady seeking changes to the backstop.

But the premier is now promising MPs they'll have another chance to do that by February 27.

The risk for May then would be that such a plan would involve enough concessions, particularly over a possible customs union, to split the Conservatives.

May's other tactic seems to be to keep her opponents talking.

She'll say that if she hasn't brought them new deal by February 27, there will then be another opportunity to vote, Communities Secretary James Brokenshire confirmed in an interview.

Last week, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn set out the conditions under which he would instruct his party to support an exit deal in parliament.

After Theresa May's latest Brexit statement to the Commons we know some extra details about the timetable for the process - but not a whole lot more.

It comes after Parliament voted last month for the PM to find alternatives to the current backstop arrangement.

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There appears little prospect of an imminent breakthrough with Brussels, and Mrs May might not bring her deal back for a decisive vote this month.

"There's little doubt Brexit uncertainty is responsible for the disappointing numbers, though concerns over global trade will also have played a part", said Brettell.

The best hope might lie with the Labour Party.

Switzerland and Britain have finalized a deal to maintain their trade and economic ties as they are - whether or not Britain reaches a deal with the European Union over its exit from the 28-nation bloc.

Trouble is, it's not clear enough Tories are ready yet to rebel.

But a no-deal Brexit would hit living standards in Britain, at least in the short term, and a fall in the value of the pound would not solve the economy's problems as suggested by some Brexit supporters. Scotland did not vote for Brexit and our nation must not be dragged out of the European Union against our will. The clash was on display last week at a meeting with United Kingdom government officials, who plan to set out their strategy for boosting London's connections to other hubs next month.

If a deal is agreed, MPs will have a second "meaningful vote", like the one in January which saw May's original plan rejected by a record-breaking 230 votes.

Among the places with the most jobs at stake would be Wolfsburg in north-central Germany, where Volkswagen is headquartered, and the Dingolfing-Landau region in southern Bavaria, where BMW has manufacturing facilities. "The party system provides the foundation for parliamentary democracy; now it's broken, our unstable hung parliament in Westminster is wobbling more and more", according to Sky News journalist Adam Boulton. The UK is seeking to roll over around 40 such agreements covering around 12 per cent of its total worldwide trade, but continuity agreements have so far only been done with a few countries including Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and Israel. The following day, there could be a further round of potential voting that would seek to boost parliament's control over the Brexit process. "I'm afraid this has gone on longer than we would have liked". A resolution could move the pound as much as 20 percent in either direction, Bloomberg's John Ainger reports.

Meanwhile, the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said on Monday the bloc was "waiting for clarity and movement from the United Kingdom" as negotiations continued in Brussels.

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