Thursday, 21 March, 2019

With Brexit deal down, United Kingdom lawmakers have 2 more choices

Countdown to Brexit 15 days until Britain leaves the EU Video loading
Kenny Thornton | 14 March, 2019, 14:02

"Let's be crystal clear about the choice: it is this deal or Brexit might not happen at all", he said.

The European Research Group said the verdict of its "Star Chamber" set up to analyse the changes was that they did not deliver legally binding changes to the Brexit deal or the Irish backstop, and did not provide an exit mechanism over which Britain had control.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks after the results of the vote on Brexit deal in Parliament in London, Britain, March 12, 2019.

With the approaching deadline intensifying fears that economic and personal turmoil might follow a "no-deal" withdrawal by Britain, Parliament voted 321-278 Wednesday to rule out the possibility.

The pound fell sharply from recent highs amid fears of a no-deal Brexit.

Sterling rose on news of the deal but then gave up its gains by mid-morning and was trading $1.3163 at 1040 GMT.

It has also increased the chances that May's fragile government could fall, sparking a snap election.

Mr Juncker warned that if MPs voted down the deal a second time, "there will be no third chance".

Some officials believe a technological solution may eventually make physical border checks unnecessary, but for now the backstop remains a considerable obstacle to a divorce deal.

"However, the legal risk remains unchanged that if through no such demonstrable failure of either party, but simply because of intractable differences, that situation does arise, the United Kingdom would have, at least while the fundamental circumstances remained the same, no internationally lawful means of exiting the Protocol's arrangements, save by agreement", said the Cox legal advice.

PA
Theresa May faces another difficult night
PA Theresa May faces another difficult night

But he conceded the risk of remaining involuntarily had been reduced.

"Today, we have agreed to them".

On the eve of Tuesday's vote in London, May flew to Strasbourg, France, to seek revisions, guarantees or other changes from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that would persuade reluctant British legislators to back her withdrawal agreement with the EU, which they resoundingly rejected in January.

Labour's shadow Brexit secretary, Sir Keir Starme, said the government's plan was now in tatters.

"Having studied the documents, I would be surprised if they are sufficient to enable the Attorney General to change the central plank of his December legal advice", Starmer said on Twitter.

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis welcomed the requirement to make alternative arrangements for the backstop, the date and the global arbitration, but said Cox's opinion would be key. "I think it would be better to have the vote tomorrow when people had more mature consideration".

"Another historic defeat is strongly on the cards for Mrs May and all options are on the table with respect to another election or no Brexit at all".

After the tally, May said Parliament would vote Wednesday on whether to abandon efforts to secure an agreement and to leave the European Union as planned in a little more than two weeks without a deal.

Mrs May had dashed off to Strasbourg on Monday for a last-gasp bid to wrest concessions from European Union leaders ahead of Tuesday's parliamentary vote on Britain's planned split from the bloc in just 17 days.

If they vote to leave with no deal, the United Kingdom will have left the European Union on March 29 and since there will be no deal in effect it is unclear what will happen in the immediate aftermath.

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