January 23, 2021

BREXIT D-DAY: Theresa May’s EU deal faces defeat in House of Commons vote

BRITISH Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal is likely to suffer a heavy defeat in the House of Commons today.

This is despite fresh assurances about the Northern Ireland backstop it was hoped would help to win over Conservative Brexiteers and the DUP.

Mrs May admitted that a letter from Jean-Claude Junker and Donald Tusk did not go far enough to address MPs’ concerns about the backstop.

The letter restated the EU’s commitment to avoid triggering the backstop if possible and ensuring that it should be temporary. But it made clear there could be no change to the legal text of the withdrawal agreement and that Britain would not be able to withdraw unilaterally from the backstop.

If, as expected, she suffers a heavy defeat in tonight’s vote, Mrs May is expected to say she will return to Brussels to seek further concessions on the backstop. But she is under mounting pressure to rule out leaving the EU without a deal on March 29 as a cross-party group of MPs is seeking to take control of the Brexit process by allowing parliament to tell the government how to proceed.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said a defeat for Mrs May’s deal should lead to a general election and he is expected to table a motion of no confidence in the government within hours of the vote.

In Dublin, the Cabinet will today receive four memorandums on Brexit-related issues for discussion at this morning’s meeting in Government Buildings.

Specific updates on medicines and transport issues will be given to Ministers, while the Cabinet will also be briefed on bilateral discussions with the British government on the Common Travel Area between the two countries and on the preparation of Brexit legislation to be enacted before the end of March.



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