British MPs set to vote on no-deal Brexit

Mae Love
March 13, 2019

The No vote came amid concerns that EU promises the United Kingdom would not be stuck in a customs union in order to avoid a hard border in Ireland were not legally enforceable.

Many fear that Brexit will divide the West as it grapples with both the unconventional US presidency of Donald Trump and growing assertiveness from Russian Federation and China, leaving Britain economically weaker and with its security capabilities depleted.

The result marked a second defeat within two months for the prime minister over her Brexit strategy after MPs overwhelmingly rejected the proposed withdrawal agreement by a margin of 230 in January.

In a written legal opinion, Cox said that if U.K. -EU negotiations became stalled through "intractable differences", Britain would have "no internationally lawful means of exiting the Protocol's arrangements, save by agreement".

"The government needs to seek an extension of (Brexit-triggering) Article 50 so that we can have a bit more time to sort things out because, to be honest, we are in such a mess", opposition Labour Party lawmaker Yvette Cooper said.

Lawmakers inflicted another crushing defeat on beleaguered Prime Minister Theresa May, voting to reject the divorce deal, even after she secured further guarantees from Brussels.

The EU parliament's Brexit group was meeting to assess the situation in Strasbourg, France before a plenary debate on the impasse.

After two-and-a-half years of haggling since the 2016 Brexit referendum, Juncker cautioned this was Britain's last chance.

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Britain will confront head-on the threat of a no-deal Brexit in a parliamentary vote with huge ramifications for Prime Minister Theresa May. May said lawmakers would be free to follow their consciences rather than party lines when they consider the question Wednesday.

The EU, which had warned there would be no more changes or negotiations if Parliament threw out the deal, expressed exasperation at yet another Brexit crisis.

But Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, said Brussels had nothing more to offer and must now brace for the possibility of a messy divorce. Politicians of every hue must overcome their differences and make avoiding a no-deal Brexit the absolute priority, starting with the vote in Parliament tomorrow.

Some eurosceptics are now pressing to leave with no deal, but May warned this scenario could cause "significant economic shock" - and many MPs agree with her.

The decision to drop all checks to avoid friction at the UK's land border with the European Union will be temporary while longer term solutions are negotiated and was taken to recognise what the government described as "the unique social political and economic circumstances of Northern Ireland".

At a news conference following the meeting, they announced changes created to overcome lawmakers' concerns about provisions created to ensure the border between European Union member Ireland and Britain's Northern Ireland remains open after Brexit. The EU Council meets next week (March 21) that's likely to be May's nearest chance to apply for such an extension.

"If this deal is not passed then Brexit could be lost", May told parliament. If they turn down that option they will vote on Thursday on delaying Brexit.

"But I equally passionately believe that the best way to do that is to leave in an orderly way with a deal", she added. The EU will likely grant an extension because it won't want to be seen as forcing a no deal situation, but the fact that an extension into May would likely see Britain having to participate in the next European parliament elections raises issues for both sides.

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