UK PM to giver parliament another chance to vote on Brexit deal

Sergio Conner
February 11, 2019

The prime minister has to get an agreement with the European Union passed by MPs by 29 March to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

They have also signed a deal to preserve the rights of some 43,000 British nationals living in Switzerland and the 35,000 Swiss residing in Britain after Brexit.

On Thursday - Valentine's Day - MPs will consider a motion on Brexit and a series of amendments, likely to include shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer's attempt to impose a new deadline for a vote on the deal.

As we get ever closer to Brexit, ministers have indicated that MPs will get the chance to vote again on Theresa May's Brexit strategy but it is not clear when and how.

"What gives certainty is a deal, and that's why we want to see people getting behind us, getting behind this process that we now have", Brokenshire told the BBC.

She will ask MPs for more time to get changes to the deal in talks with Brussels - but Labour has accused her of "cynically" running down the clock.

Ministers have conceded in private meetings with business leaders that they will not be able to replace all of the deals before the Brexit deadline on 29 March, meaning a large proportion of United Kingdom exports could shift to World Trade Organization rules.

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"If the meaningful vote has not happened, so in other words things have not concluded, then Parliament would have that further opportunity by no later than 27 February", said Mr Brokenshire. It is that promise that led to this week's vote.

In a letter to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn dated Sunday, May opposed his party's appeal for the country to remain in a customs union with Brussels.

There are few signs of concessions coming May's way from Brussels.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay is meeting European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will visit Paris and Warsaw for talks this week.

The British premier is set to meet European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker again before the end of the month.

Japan has sought to extract hefty concessions from Britain before Brexit, while talks with many nations have been delayed by the lack of clarity over Britain's future trading relationship with the EU.

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