Saturday

8th Aug 2020

UK parliament vote expected to prompt Brexit delay

  • Theresa May is facing a possible landslide defeat on her Brexit plan (Photo: Number 10 - Flickr)

Britain's embattled prime minister Theresa May appears increasingly likely to lose the key parliamentary vote on her deal to leave the European Union.

With MPs on Tuesday (15 January) gearing up to reject the pact, both British and European Union diplomats are reportedly preparing for Brexit to be delayed beyond the existing 29 March deadline.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"It is possible that the time frame may be extended," Josep Borrell, Spain's foreign minister said on Monday at a press conference, adding that the real deadline is the May European elections.

The comments follow the joint-letter addressed to May from both European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Council president Donald Tusk, who described Brexit as "a source of uncertainty and disruption."

May has spent the past two years negotiating the deal with the European Union amid stark divisions within her own cabinet and party, a succession of resignations, and an attempt within her own party to unseat her.

Her last-minute lobbying for the deal, and the assurances highlighted in the Juncker-Tusk letter that the contentious Northern Irish backstop won't be triggered, appear to have done little to assuage panicking British MPs in the House of Commons.

"I fully understand that these new assurances still will not go as far as some would like," May told parliament on Monday.

Given the likely defeat of the deal, possibly by a margin of 200 in the 650-seat chamber, speculation is now rising that May will ask the remaining 27 EU states to extend Article 50 in the hope of securing broader support among opposing and even dissenting MPs from within her own conservative party.

The move also comes amid a plan hatched by three-ex ministers to push through a new law that would grant a senior panel of MPs the power to come up with its own compromise deal.

"This bill would do the following, it would give the government three more weeks to get a compromise deal, a plan B, through parliament so that we are leaving the EU on time on March 29 with a deal," said Nick Boles, one of the ex-ministers behind the plan, on Monday.

British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, has suggested a possible second referendum, described as only 'one option', should his Labour party fail to force a general election.

Corbyn is expected to table a motion of no confidence in the government should May's deal collapse on Tuesday night.

Any extension would likely further complicate EU efforts to minimise disruption with the break as EU states gear up for a no-deal exit.

Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands have announced they will hire hundreds of extra customs officials in case of a no-deal Brexit. France said it plans on keeping transport and traffic running smoothly with the UK.

Ireland may seek aid, as border issue stalls Brexit deal

With the Brexit deal awaiting a vote in the British parliament, Theresa May is seeking further assurances from EU leaders - and Irish minister talks of emergency aid for Dublin to deal with a no-deal scenario.

No more Brexit talks, despite May's pleas

EU leaders said they can do no more than reassure the UK they do not want to trap it over Ireland, but May might need more than that to get the Brexit deal through parliament.

News in Brief

  1. Germany breached rights of Madeleine McCann suspect
  2. EU offers trade perks to Lebanon
  3. Germany charges four ex-Audi chiefs on emissions cheating
  4. UK quarantines Belgium, as European infections climb
  5. Bulgaria's Borissov mulls resignation
  6. EU prolongs anti-dumping duties on Chinese steel
  7. Swedish economy contracted less during April to June
  8. EU offers help to Lebanon after port explosion

EU warns UK to abide by Brexit political declaration

"No significant progress" has been made on the latest round of talks between the UK and EU on how their relationship should look from January, according to Michel Barnier. The EU told UK to stick to its prior commitments.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. Iraqis paid €2,000 each agree to leave Greece
  2. EU's most sustainable islands are Danish 'Sunshine Islands'
  3. Worrying rows over future EU chemicals policy
  4. Rainbow flag protesters charged by Polish police
  5. An open letter to the EPP on end of Hungary's press freedom
  6. Renew Europe has a plan to combat gender-violence
  7. Why EU beats US on green pandemic recovery
  8. Azerbaijan ambassador to EU shared anti-George Floyd post

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us