• Wednesday, Apr 21, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:43 pm

Theresa May pulls vote on her divorce deal, thrusting Brexit into the unknown

  • Published at 08:47 pm December 10th, 2018
web-Theresa-May
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement in the House of Commons, London, Britain, December 10, 2018 Reuters

May's move on the eve of the scheduled parliamentary vote opens up an array of possible outcomes, ranging from a disorderly Brexit with no deal to another referendum on EU membership

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday abruptly postponed a parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal on Monday, throwing Britain's plan to leave the European Union into chaos after admitting that she faced a rout.

May's move on the eve of the scheduled parliamentary vote opens up an array of possible outcomes, ranging from a disorderly Brexit with no deal to another referendum on EU membership. May's own position could be in jeopardy, with calls from opposition parties for her to step aside.

May said she still intended to put her deal to lawmakers. But she would first ask the EU for more "reassurances" over the main bone of contention: a "backstop" to ensure no hard border on the island of Ireland, which her critics say means Britain could end up indefinitely subject to EU rules after it leaves.

Announcing the delay, May was laughed at by some lawmakers when she said there was broad support for the deal and that she had listened carefully to different views over it - the result of 18 months of tortuous negotiations.

"If we went ahead and held the vote tomorrow the deal would be rejected by a significant margin," May told parliament, adding that she was confident it was the right deal.

"We will therefore defer the vote scheduled for tomorrow and not proceed to divide the House at this time," May said. The United Kingdom would meanwhile step up contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit when it is due to leave on March 29.

Sterling skidded to its weakest level since April 2017, falling to $1.2527. It was trading at $1.50 on the day of the 2016 Brexit referendum.

May accepted there was concern among lawmakers about the Northern Irish "backstop".

The provision is intended as an insurance policy to avoid a return to border checks between the British-ruled province and the EU-member Irish Republic. But it also goes to the heart of the Brexit dilemma: allowing Britain to set its own rules outside the EU without disrupting trade.

The backstop requires Britain to abide by some EU rules indefinitely - potentially long after it quits the bloc and gives up say in setting them - unless some future mechanism can be found to ensure a friction-free land border. That prospect is rejected both by supporters of a cleaner break with the EU and those who want to stay inside it.

Brexit reversed?

May said the broader question was whether parliament wanted to deliver on the will of the people for Brexit, or open up the divisions in the world's fifth largest economy with another referendum.

"If you take a step back, it is clear that this house faces a much more fundamental question: does this house want to deliver Brexit?" May asked.

The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, said the United Kingdom no longer had "a functioning government" and called on May to "make way" for a Labour government.

The decision to halt the vote came just hours after the EU's top court ruled that Britain could unilaterally withdraw its decision to leave the bloc on March, 29.

The government did not spell out the mechanism for delaying the vote scheduled for Tuesday.

The speaker of the lower house of parliament, John Bercow, called for lawmakers to be given a vote on the decision to defer the vote on the deal itself.

"I politely suggest that in any courteous, respectful and mature environment, allowing the house to have a say would be the right and, dare I say it, the obvious course to take," Speaker Bercow said.

52
Facebook 52
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail