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Montevideo, July 16th 2019 - 06:55 UTC

 

 

Theresa May sticks to her Brexit strategy despite Tories row and Commons defeat

Saturday, February 16th 2019 - 10:46 UTC
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The PM will return to Brussels “within days”, after her Brexit secretary met EU ambassadors in London on Friday The PM will return to Brussels “within days”, after her Brexit secretary met EU ambassadors in London on Friday
Steve Baker, of the backbench European Research Group which led the rebellion, called it a “storm in a teacup”. Steve Baker, of the backbench European Research Group which led the rebellion, called it a “storm in a teacup”.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is sticking to her Brexit strategy, despite her party rowing in the wake of her latest Commons defeat. MPs rejected a motion endorsing her approach by 303 to 258, with 66 Tory MPs abstaining, leading one minister to accuse Brexiteer rebels of “treachery”.

Steve Baker, of the backbench European Research Group which led the rebellion, called it a “storm in a teacup”.

The PM will return to Brussels “within days”, after her Brexit secretary met EU ambassadors in London on Friday.

Steve Barclay will also travel for further talks with the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday, with Parliament yet to back a deal ahead of the UK's withdrawal from the bloc on 29 March.

Mrs May is trying to renegotiate the Irish “backstop” after MPs voted to replace it with “alternative arrangements” earlier this month.

Some MPs fear the backstop - the insurance policy to prevent the return of customs checks on the Irish border - will see the UK tied to EU customs rules in the long-term.

Thursday's government motion called for MPs to back its renegotiating strategy, but ERG members believed it also meant endorsing calls to rule out a no-deal Brexit.

They say the option of leaving the EU without a formal deal offers essential “negotiating leverage” in Brussels. But a majority of MPs believe it would cause chaos at ports and massive disruption to business.

The EU has consistently ruled out changes to the backstop.

The latest government defeat has no legal force and Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom told BBC political correspondent Iain Watson the PM would return to Brussels for talks in the coming days.

Ms Leadsom also told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the loss represented “more of a hiccup than the disaster that is being reported”.

“[Mrs May] will continue to seek those legally binding changes to the backstop that will enable Parliament to support our deal,” she added.

Mrs Leadsom blamed Labour for “playing politics” to defeat the government.

But the chair of the Exiting the EU committee, Labour's Hilary Benn, said Mrs May had rejected party leader Jeremy Corbyn's proposed alternatives and instead sought approval from Tory Brexiteers.

“As long as the prime minister continues to try and keep the ERG on-side... we are not going to make any progress,” he told Today. “We have to compromise.”

Categories: Economy, Politics, International.

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