Last-ditch cross-party effort launched to stop no-deal Brexit

02 April, 2019, 22:25 | Author: Mary Valdez
  • John Bercow in the House of Commons

Politicians on either side of the House of Commons were scrambling to avert a no-deal Brexit on Tuesday, as Theresa May's cabinet remained locked in discussions and the European Union warned that it was becoming increasingly likely that the United Kingdom would crash out of the bloc.

Speaking in 10 Downing Street after a marathon session of Cabinet lasting over seven hours, Mrs May said that any further delay to Brexit should be "as short as possible".

This could also provide the final nail in Theresa May's career as Prime Minister.

Britain could still accept the deal negotiated by May, which Barnier said was "the only way" for Britain to leave the bloc in an orderly way.

"I'm offering to sit down with the leader of the opposition and try to agree a plan that we would both stick to to ensure we leave the European Union and we do so with a deal".

"However, if we cannot agree on the single unified approach, then we would instead agree a number of options for the future relationship that we could put to the House in a series of votes to determine which course to pursue".

Speaking following a marathon crisis meeting with her Cabinet, the Prime Minister said that while the United Kingdom could, in the long term, "make a success of no-deal", leaving with a deal is the "best solution".

French President Emmanuel Macron warned that an extension to the Article 50 negotiation process can not be taken for granted, and that the United Kingdom would have to present a "credible alternative plan backed by a majority" at next week's summit in order to secure it. But indicative votes are a way of breaking the Brexit deadlock by finding a way forward that the majority of MPs would support.

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If passed into law, the bill would require the PM to ask for an extension of Article 50 - which mandates the UK's exit from the European Union - beyond the current 12 April deadline. An amendment to his motion would set aside April 8 for indicative votes.

And EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said a no-deal departure was becoming "day after day more likely".

This proposes the United Kingdom government negotiates as a minimum "a permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union with the EU" as part of any Brexit deal.

A no-deal Brexit was "never our desired or intended scenario" but "becomes day after day more likely", he said.

"Any plan would have to agree the current Withdrawal Agreement".

"I am offering to sit down with the leader of the opposition and to try to agree a plan that we would both stick to ensure that we leave the European Union and that we do so with a deal".

There were just 12 votes in the option to give the public a confirmatory referendum, with the votes going 280 to 292.

If May's deal still isn't able to command a majority in parliament, there's the immediate prospect of a no-deal Brexit on 12 April.

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