British parliament orders May government to come up with Brexit plan B

Charlene Craig
January 11, 2019

The comments came as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was set to say that a general election is the most "practical and democratic" way to "break the deadlock" in the Commons over Brexit. This LBC listener was keen to know.

Labour's shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: "The government's decision to delay the meaningful vote has run down the clock and increased the risk of a no-deal Brexit".

The setback for the Prime Minister came as MPs started five days of debate on the withdrawal agreement with the European Union, and the framework for future relations, ahead of the meaningful vote next week.

Andrea Leadsom, a Cabinet Brexiteer and Leader of the House of Commons, asked Mr Bercow to release the advice he received from the Clerk of the House of Commons on whether the amendment should have been accepted, but he declined to do so.

Watch what happened next above. "I want to see this deal getting through parliament".

The Commons defeat is the second in the space of 24 hours for the government on Brexit.

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But MPs backed calls for it to respond within three working Parliamentary days, a deadline likely to fall on Monday 21 January.

A defeat would ratchet up the chances of Britain leaving without a deal on 29 March, the day the United Kingdom officially leaves the EU.

"The only way to avoid "no deal" is to vote for the deal", Mrs May told politicians in the House of Commons on the first of five days of debate ahead of a vote next Tuesday.

It would be "a disastrous situation in which we move to the most rudimentary terms of trade with our closest partners", he told BBC radio.

A potentially damaging no-deal exit is the default scenario if May's deal is rejected, with the UK's central bank warning that Britain's gross domestic product (GDP) could shrink by up to eight percent in such a scenario.

The vote, which saw 20 legislators from Mrs May's Conservative Party rebel and side with the Opposition, indicates that a majority in Parliament opposes leaving the European Union without an agreement and will try to stop it happening. Seven bills must be implemented in order to conclude a Brexit deal by March, including trade, agriculture, healthcare, financial services, fisheries and immigration, as well as legislation for the withdrawal agreement itself.

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A former director of legislative affairs at Number 10, Nikki da Costa, said: "More than anything this is not just overturning something the House accepted in a business motion, it is overturning the EU Withdrawal Agreement and procedure voted on and approved in both Houses with much debate and scrutiny, and indeed which Grieve accepted on floor of the House".

50% of MPs, and 80% of Conservative MPs, said that customs union membership would not honour the referendum result, while 58% of MPs stated that a Brexit deal similar to membership of the European Economic Area would mean "we haven't truly left the European Union and honoured the referendum result".

Corbyn said Labour would vote against May's Brexit deal next week and that if Parliament voted it down then there should be a national election.

"But what the prime minister has achieved, she has actually been able to negotiate a deal that is able to deliver us so numerous benefits of the membership of the European Union but outside the European Union and that's what I hope will be passed".

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday he and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte agreed to do what they can to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

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