News World British ministers split over next Brexit steps if PM's deal fails

British ministers split over next Brexit steps if PM’s deal fails

British ministers are divided over the government’s next steps if Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the European Union is not approved by parliament next month.

With just under 100 days until Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, deep divisions in parliament have raised the chances of leaving without a deal and increased calls for a second referendum to break the deadlock.

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd said late on Wednesday there would be a “plausible argument” for another referendum if parliament failed to reach a consensus on the way forward, something May has repeatedly ruled out.

House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom said a so-called people’s vote would be unacceptable and that a “managed” no-deal would be an alternative.

“A managed no-deal would simply mean that it was agreed on both sides that there would be bilateral arrangements, that we would have some forms of mitigation,” Leadsom told Sky News. “That would be possible should it come to that.”

May pulled a vote on her deal from parliament earlier this month after admitting it would be defeated.

She is seeking “assurances” from EU leaders over the so-called Irish backstop, an insurance policy to avoid a hard border between the British province and EU-member Ireland that its critics fear will trap Britain in a customs union with the EU indefinitely.

May’s spokesman said a second referendum was not plausible and that the EU had been a clear a “managed” no-deal was not available. The prime minister was focused on getting the assurances parliament wants on the backstop, he said.

“The EU has been very clear that there is no withdrawal agreement available which does not include a backstop,” he said. “The best mitigation against the ‘no-deal’ is passing the prime minister’s deal.”

Leadsom said the government intends and expects to get May’s deal through parliament when it brings it back for a vote in mid-January. Leadsom later told parliament that several days of debate ahead of that vote would begin on Jan. 9.

May has repeatedly said that if her deal is rejected then the world’s fifth-largest economy might have to leave without a deal – the nightmare option for big business – or that Brexit might be thwarted altogether.

The government said on Thursday it had reached agreements with Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland which mirrored elements of its exit deal with the EU on issues such as citizens’ rights.

PLAUSIBLE ARGUMENT

Some ministers have indicated they would quit the government if the no-deal option became official policy.

Earlier this week, the government said it would implement plans for a no-deal Brexit in full and begin telling businesses and citizens to prepare.

With no clear majority in parliament for any way forward, several ministers have said they would support the idea of holding an “indicative vote” of lawmakers as to what Brexit option they would like to see pursued.

Rudd said parliament should reach a majority on how Britain leaves the EU, but if it could not then another referendum was an option.

“I have said that I don’t want a people’s vote or a referendum in general but if parliament absolutely failed to reach a consensus, I could see there would be a plausible argument for it,” she told ITV.

France’s European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau said Britain could hold a second Brexit referendum. “The door remains open but it will be up to them to choose, not us,” Loiseau said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who some British lawmakers have accused of meddling in the referendum vote, said on Thursday that May had little choice but to implement Brexit and steer clear of a second referendum because not doing so would undermine faith in British democracy.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

Germany to go into circuit-break lockdown as virus cases surge

  Germany will impose an emergency month-long lockdown that includes the closure of restaurants, gyms and theatres to reverse a spike in coronavirus cases that...

1547-Highest ever number of new covid cases in Greece-deaths on the rise

  Greece recorded one thousand five hundred and forty seven new coronavirus  cases over the past 24 hours, the highest ever number since the start...

Huge 8500 euro fine for unmarked tobacco products

  A twenty nine year old was fined 8 and a half thousand euro for unmarked tobacco products that were discovered by police at his...

Ankara provocatively announces Varosha works, as Turkish minister illegally visits

  Turkey's Environment and Urban Planning minister Murat Kurum, illegally visited the fenced off city of Famagusta, accompanied by a delegation, the latest in a...

Germany and France prepare new lockdowns as COVID sweeps Europe

  Germany and France were preparing to announce restrictions approaching the level of last spring’s blanket lockdowns, as COVID deaths across Europe rose almost 40%...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...