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Pro-EU MPs table key Brexit amendment to May’s deal

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Hilary Benn
Hilary Benn MP.
REUTERS/Neil
Hall


  • Labour and Conservative MPs table amendment which gives
    Parliament control over Brexit if Theresa May’s deal fails to
    win support. 
  • The amendment, tabled by leading Labour MP Hilary Benn,
    would give MPs the authority to say what steps the UK
    government should take if May’s deal cannot get through
    Parliament.
  • Possible next steps include extending negotiations, a
    softer Brexit, or holding another referendum.
  • The prime minister is refusing to budge on her deal
    despite the prospect of a landslide defeat next week.
  • 100 Conservative MPs have said they will vote against
    the deal.

LONDON — A cross-party group of MPs have launched a bid to give
the House of Commons the power to decide what action the UK
government should take if Theresa May’s Brexit deal cannot get
through Parliament.

Labour MP Hilary Benn is the lead signatory on an amendment to
the meaningful vote which if passed would give MPs control over
the next steps in the Brexit process should May’s Brexit deal
with the EU fail to win support.

In practice, it means that should Parliament refuse to accept the
prime minister’s deal, MPs could instruct her to extend
negotiations, hold another referendum, or pursue a different sort
of Brexit like a softer, Norway-style exit.

The amendment — backed by MPs like Labour’s Yvette Cooper and
Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston — could determine the outcome of
Brexit with MPs almost certain to vote down May’s deal on
December 11.

As of Friday morning, 100 Conservative MPs have said they will
not support the prime minister’s deal. Neither will the DUP which
props up May’s government or a vast majority of MPs in Labour and
the other opposition parties.

Despite the prospect of a landslide defeat, May is currently
refusing to budge on her Brexit deal with the EU.

Travelling to Argentina on Friday, she told journalists that she
would not switch to Labour’s policy of a permanent customs union
with the EU, claiming: “I’ve been very clear about my position,
we won’t be in the customs union.”

She also refused to discuss the possible options if her deal is
unable to get through Parliament.

“It has always been said we wouldn’t get to this position of
having a deal. Now we’ve got to the position of having a deal,
all you seem to want to be asking about is the next stage,” the
prime minister said.

May also refused to discuss what will happen if her Brexit deal
is voted down during a forensic question and answer
session with senior MPs on Thursday
, repeatedly insisting: “I
am focused on the meaningful vote.”

Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, has tabled an
amendment of his own which seeks to guarantee that Britain won’t
leave the EU without a deal no matter what happens in the
upcoming vote on May’s deal.


Liam Fox
Trade Secretary Liam
Fox.

Anthony Devlin – WPA Pool/Getty
Images


The prime minister has been boosted by pro-Brexit members of the
Cabinet like Liam Fox who have agreed to stay in government and
support her deal despite concerns about the details of the
agreement.

Trade Secretary Fox will today use a speech in Bristol, southwest
England to encourage Conservative MPs to get behind May and her
controversial deal. He is set to say: “In politics, we cannot
always have the luxury of doing what we want for ourselves — but
we have an abiding duty to do what is right for our country.”

He is set to add: “The deal we’ve reached will give us a firm and
stable base on which to leave the EU and build this country’s
global future… Now is the time to set aside our differences.”

Andrea Leadsom, another leading government Brexiteer, still has
significant reservations with the deal — specifically the
backstop for avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland —
allies of the MP have told Business Insider.

However, she is set to vote for the deal next week, as
Environment Secretary Michael Gove and International Development
Secretary Penny Mordaunt, who have both been tipped to quit a
government over May’s deal.

Our Brexit Insider Facebook group is the best place for up-to-date news and analysis about Britain’s departure from the EU, direct from Business Insider’s political reporters. Join here.

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