Theresa May has told the parliament that MPs will carry out the vote on UK’s Brexit deal on the week of January the 14th. This vote was set out to be held last week but was postponed after Theresa May admitted she was set to lose. Announcing a new date, Mrs May said the EU had made it clear the Irish backstop was “not a plot to trap the UK” and urged MPs to see Brexit through.
Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party had threatened to force a confident vote in the prime minister if she did not set out a date for the final vote. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said she had “led the country into a national crisis” and she no longer had cabinet backing.
Corbyn has said it has been a waste of a month since the original December the 11th vote was put on pause with “not a single word renegotiated and not a single reassurance given”.
“The deal is unchanged and is not going to change,” he said. “The House must get on with the vote and move on to consider the realistic alternatives.”
Labour said they threatened the confidence vote before they saw an advance copy of the PM’s speech and they believed she backed down in the face of their challenge.
The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019 – the deal sets out the terms of exit and includes a declaration on the outline of the future relations between the UK and the EU. But the deal will only come in effect if the UK and European parliament approve it.
Mrs May has said the MPs would resume the Brexit deal debate in the first week of the new year and the ‘meaningful’ vote will take place a week later.
“It is now only just over 14 weeks until the UK leaves the EU and I know many members of this House are concerned that we need to take a decision soon,” she said.
She said she had won fresh guarantees at last week’s EU summit over measures to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland and hoped to secure additional “political and legal assurances” in the coming weeks.
The SNP’s Ian Blackford said the government was a “laughing stock” and Parliament needed to “take control of the situation and find a solution”.
May faces a huge amount of pressure as she is faced with conflicting opinions across her party and the rest of the parliament. Her former cabinet minister Dominic Raab and Esther Mc Vey have urged the prime minister to continue planning for a no deal Brexit whilst another Andrew Mitchell, has urged her to suspend the Brexit process to allow for further negotiations to take place.
The BBC understands Mr Cameron has been in touch with Mrs May about how a series of “indicative votes” on various different Brexit outcomes could be handled if there was deadlock over the terms of the UK’s exit.
Potential “Plan B” options include:
- pursuing different Norway or Canada-style arrangements with the EU
- leaving on the basis of a “managed no deal”
- delaying Brexit to restart negotiations
- hold a fresh referendum