Pressure mounts on May’s Brexit deal
Embattled UK Prime Minister Theresa May must decide whether to risk defeat on her Brexit deal tomorrow (Tuesday) or postpone it in the hope of securing further concessions from other EU leaders.
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay told the BBC that there were no plans to delay the vote. Most estimates suggest May will lose by more than 100 votes.
May is set to hold a series of private meetings with her backbench MPs as she scrambles to win support for her deal.
She said a rejection of her deal could lead to a general election or “no Brexit” at all.
Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable said he believed Brexit may not happen at all.
“Increasingly I doubt it [it is] more likely that it won’t happen,” the former minister said.
He said there could be a “hell of a backlash” if Mrs May’s “economically damaging” departure was imposed without a people’s vote.
Labour, Liberal Democrats, DUP, SNP and many Conservative MPs saying they cannot support the deal.
Downing Street sources say most Conservative MPs would support the deal if it were not for the Irish backstop, the insurance policy designed to prevent a hard British border in Ireland.
Yesterday May spoke on the phone to Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, whose support could be vital if she were to negotiate further with Brussels.
She also spoke to European Council President Donald Tusk.
Will Quince resigned as parliamentary private secretary to the defence minister saying he could not support May’s deal because, under the so-called Irish backstop arrangement, London would be negotiating with Brussels indefinitely.
Another cabinet minister is also considering quitting, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is due to rule this morning on whether the UK can cancel Brexit without the permission of the bloc’s other 27 members.
Pro-EU campaigners have argued the UK should be able to unilaterally halt the Brexit process.
The case has been opposed by the UK government and the EU but a senior ECJ official said last week that the UK should be able to cancel the process.
Thousands marched in London at a Ukip-organised rally and an anti-protest counter-protest.
A Ukip spokesman said “quite a few thousand” supporters joined the “Brexit betrayal” march alongside far-right activist Tommy Robinson.
Anti-fascist groups and Labour-backed campaigners said they numbered around 15,000.
Laura Parker of Labour’s radical Momentum movement claimed the counter-protest “vastly” outnumbered the Ukip supporters by “nearly five to one”.
She said: “Even with the Ukip machine in tow, [Robinson] only managed to bring a few thousand supporters out on the streets while we mobilised nearly 15,000 to march against his racism and bigotry.”
Politicians might have noticed how much larger pro-EU events are. Picture credit: Eurasia Times