BREXIT VOTE LIVE: Brussels LASHES OUT at Remainers risking no deal – ‘Out of options!'

Posted on Mar 30 2019 - 12:21am by admin

Following the vote, the European Commission called no deal “a likely scenario” while Danish Prime Minister insisted the UK is “almost out of options and time”. Mrs May faced an uphill struggle today as her key Government allies the DUP joined Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in voting against her Withdrawal Agreement. The Prime Minister split the legally binding treaty segment of her Brexit deal from the Political Declaration on UK’s future relationship with the EU to bring it back for a third vote.

But her decision backfired when it was rejected once again by 286 votes to 344, a majority of 58.

Speaking after her defeat, Mrs May warned the implications of the vote were “grave”.

EU boss Donald Tusk immediately announced Brussels would be holding an emergency summit on April 10.


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The EU warned of a no deal Brexit after Theresa May lost a third vote on her deal (Image: EPA/GETTY)

6.25pm update: DUP vows to continue to resist pressure to back May’s deal

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds told LBC radio: “I think it would be actually better staying in the EU than living under this Withdrawal Agreement, which would mean you would accept all the rules of the European Union, pay in all the money, but have no say whatsoever.”

Writing on Twitter, Mr Dodds added: “Following today’s vote in Parliament we must continue to work to implement the democratic decision to leave the EU and do so in a way that strengthens our UK.”

4.15pm update: Irish premier reacts to May’s defeat

Leo Varadkar said: “It is now up to the UK to indicate how it plans to proceed in order to avoid a no-deal scenario.

“The European Council has agreed unanimously that the Withdrawal Agreement will not be re-opened.”

He said Ireland had been “preparing intensively” for a no-deal scenario but that no one should under-estimate the difficulties it would pose for all countries, including the UK.

He added: “It is not clear that the UK has fully understood that no deal is not off the agenda. Rather, it’s a growing possibility.”

On the decision of EU Council President Donald Tusk to call an emergency meeting on April 10, he said: “It is now incumbent on the UK to chart a realistic way forward for consideration at that council meeting.

“I believe we must be open to a long extension should the United Kingdom decide to fundamentally reconsider its approach to Brexit and put back on the table options previously ruled out.

“I believe that will result in a generous and understanding response from the 27.”

4pm update: Danish PM says UK is “almost out of options and time”

Lars Lokke Rasmussen said on Twitter: “House of Commons did not seize their third chance to secure an orderly #Brexit. Very discouraging. UK must now show a way to avoid a #NoDeal. Almost out of options and time. We will intensify our no deal preparations.”

3.40pm update: Downing Street says UK taking part in European elections not an “inevitability”

A No 10 source indicated that the Prime Minister would continue to push the Commons to support her divorce deal.

The source said: “Clearly it was not the result we wanted. But, that said, we have had a number of senior Conservative colleagues who have felt able to vote with the Government today. They have done so in higher numbers than previously.

“Clearly there is more work to do. We are at least going in the right direction.”

3.30pm update: European Commission calls no deal “a likely scenario”

A statement released following the vote reads: “The Commission regrets the negative vote in the House of Commons today.

“As per the European Council (Article 50) decision on 22 March, the period provided for in Article 50(3) is extended to 12 April.

“It will be for the UK to indicate the way forward before that date, for consideration by the European Council.

“A ‘no-deal’ scenario on 12 April is now a likely scenario. The EU has been preparing for this since December 2017 and is now fully prepared for a ‘no-deal’ scenario at midnight on 12 April. The EU will remain united.

“The benefits of the Withdrawal Agreement, including a transition period, will in no circumstances be replicated in a ‘no-deal’ scenario. Sectoral mini-deals are not an option.”

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Theresa May lost a crunch vote to get her divorce deal across the line on Brexit day (Image: GETTY)

3.20pm update: Juncker’s right-hand man says April 12 is “the new” March 29

European Commission secretary general Martin Selmayr tweeted: “12 April is now the new 29 March.”

3.15pm update: May’s deal has been “rightly defeated” – Nigel Farage

The Former Ukip leader said on Twitter: “The new EU treaty has been rightly defeated for a third time.

“Extension and further battles now seem inevitable. We are not downhearted, and will fight them again.”

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Nigel Farage said the Prime Minister’s deal had been “rightly defeated” (Image: REUTERS)

2.47pm update: Emergency EU Council date set 

Responding to the vote, European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted: “In view of the rejection of the Withdrawal Agreement by the House of Commons, I have decided to call a European Council on 10 April.”

2.46pm update: May reacts to rejection of her deal 

The Prime Minister said the implications of the vote were “grave” adding: “I fear we are reaching the limits of the process in this House.”

Mrs May, raising a point of order after the defeat, said: “I think it should be a matter of profound regret to every member of this House that once again we have been unable to support leaving the European Union in an orderly fashion.

“The implications of the House’s decision are grave.

“The legal default now is that the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union on 12 April – in just 14 days’ time.

“This is not enough time to agree, legislate for and ratify a deal, and yet the House has been clear it will not permit leaving without a deal.

“And so we will have to agree an alternative way forward.”

2.42pm update: BREAKING: May’s Withdrawal Agreement has been REJECTED

MPs have rejected Theresa May’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement by 286 votes to 344, with a majority of 58

2.33pm update: Jacob Rees-Mogg walks in to aye lobby 

In a major U-turn the Brexiteer was spotted supporting the deal with Boris Johnson, according to chief political correspondent for The Daily Telegraph Christopher Hope. 

Independent Group MP Anna Soubry tweeted  tweeted: “Principle counts for nothing as #JacobReesMogg & #BorisJohnson change their mind and vote for #PMDeal

“Pity the British people can’t have the same right to change their mind.”

2.17pm: May addresses House ahead of vote 

The Prime Minister said: “Today is not about a blind Brexit – but a guaranteed Brexit.

“Today should have been the day the UK left the EU – that we are not leaving today is a matter of deep personal regret to me.

“But I remain committed to the UK leaving the EU and that is why I brought this motion to the House today.

“There are those who will say ‘the House has rejected every option so far, you’ll probably lose so why bother?’ – I bother because this is the last opportunity to guarantee Brexit.

“And I say to all those who campaigned to leave, who voted to leave, who represent constituencies that voted leave, indeed all of us who want to deliver on the vote to leave – if we do not vote for this motion today people will ask ‘why did you not vote for Brexit?’.

“By voting for this motion today we can send a message to the public and European Union that Britain stands by its word and that we’ll leave the European Union on May 22.”

She told MPs: “I am prepared to leave this job to secure the right outcome for this country.” 

Mrs May urged MPs to “look in to our hearts and decide what is best for our constituents and country.” 

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Brexit vote live: May says it’s MPs duty to back her deal (Image: PARLIAMENT LIVE )

2.16pm update: Vote down to the ‘wire’ 

As Jeremy Corbyn addressed the Commons, Nadine Dorries tweeted that the Tory benches were yet to fill because “there are a number of meetings taking place”.

She said: “It’s going to the wire.” 

2.11pm update: Today’s vote ‘affront to democracy’ Corbyn 

The Labour leader said:”The Government has run down the clock in an attempt to blackmail MPs at every turn.

“The country is in chaos and responsibility for this chaos is the Government’s, and the Government’s alone…

“Today’s vote – third time lucky the Prime Minister hopes – is an affront to democracy and an affront to this country.” 

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Brexit vote live: Corbyn says ‘today’s vote is affront to democracy’ (Image: PARLIAMENT LIVE )

1.47pm update: May’s deal is ‘genuine threat’ to Union of UK 

Independent Group MP Anna Soubry said: “This Withdrawal Agreement is a genuine threat to the Union of the United Kingdom. I genuinely do believe that. It is one of the reasons I am in fear of this agreement.

“I believe it is a threat to Northern Ireland and its relationship as part of the United Kingdom. I believe it is true in Scotland.

“I believe Brexit will actually increase the desire of the Scottish people to break away from the Union and strike out by themselves because they will see a future as part of the European Union being denied because of Brexit with the United Kingdom. And in Wales too, where we know that the number of remain voters continues now to grow.

Ms Soubry said she thought Brexit would also lead to the break up of the Conservative and Labour parties.

1.29pm update: Another Tory will back May’s deal 

Tory MP Craig Tracey announced he will back Mrs May’s Agreement in Friday’s vote, having rebelled in earlier divisions.

The North Warwickshire MP said: “Reluctantly, I will be backing the deal today as, given the manoeuvrings over the last week or so, it is the only realistic opportunity to move on without risking Brexit.

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Brexit vote live: Anna Soubry said the deal was a ‘genuine’ threat to the Union (Image: PARLIAMENT LIVE )

12.44pm update: Raab heckled by Labour

Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab was heckled by Labour MPs as he announced his shift to back the Withdrawal Agreement, with one shouting: “Good luck with the leadership.”

12.38pm update: Dominic Raab in major U-turn 

Explaining his shift to back the deal, the former Brexit secretary said: “The choice now is between the risk of being held in the backstop by the EU for a period, without being able to control our exit, and on the other hand a significant risk of losing Brexit altogether.

“Neither are palatable. Both could have been avoided if the Government had shown the requisite resolve and will.”

12.31pm update: DUP hits out at Tory Government 

DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson outlined his party’s opposition, saying: “As far as the Withdrawal Agreement is concerned and the motion before us is concerned, our position has not changed.

“We have sought to, over the last number of weeks, work with the Government to try and find a way of either getting legal assurances or legislative changes which would enable us to move this process on – we want to see a deal because we want out of the European Union, and we want to have a clear path as to how we do that.

“But it has not been possible… because the Withdrawal Agreement itself so ties the hands of this Government that it is impossible to find a way of securing the kind of assurances which are required to make sure the United Kingdom is not broken up, and that we do have a clear way of ensuring that the Brexit which many of us expected to see delivered would be delivered.”

“It’s our regret that that process has reached an end.”

12.29pm update: Dominic Grieve lays out his opposition 

The Tory former attorney general said: “It was made quite clear when the Prime Minister was at the last European Union summit that an extension to May 22 was what was described as a technical extension for the purpose of simply bringing about what had been agreed fully and completely in this House.

“If we extend to May 22 without having reached that conclusion now, we do run the very serious risk that we will not be able to extend further at that date if we have not completed all the parts of the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration.”

Mr Grieve said the UK could secure a longer extension from the EU to consider other options if it went back and asked for it now rather than approve the Withdrawal Agreement on Friday.

12.01pm update: Redwood blasts May’s ‘dreadful’ agreement 

Former Wales Secretary John Redwood said he would be voting against the Government. He said it would be a “dreadful agreement” which would trap the UK with no exit clause.

Mr Redwood likened the proposed arrangement to handing over money to a shopkeeper, and only then beginning a discussion about what one wanted to buy.

He said: “For me, it turns out to be an easy decision. I am sorry for a lot of my honourable and right honourable friends for whom it is not so easy.”

He added: “On this one issue, I have voted against the Government before and I will vote against it again this afternoon. Because this is a dreadful agreement.

“It is a fully-binding treaty with no exit clause. Something we can’t get out of, and there would be requirement after requirement after requirement.

“We would have sub-contracted our legislation to someone we can’t control and we would have to obey. We would have offered to pay them a lot of money for no obvious good reason.

12.11pm update: Labour MP to rebel and back deal 

Jim Fitzpatrick said he will rebel against the Labour whip and vote for the Government’s deal.

He said: “I’m voting for the deal. 

“I don’t want a no-deal. I’ve voted against it twice but this is a different proposition.

“It’s separating the withdrawal deal, it gives us the opportunities to influence the final political situation and, therefore, from my point of view, it’s a better offer.

“I’ve been saying for some time if it’s a choice between her deal or no deal, then I’d take her deal.”

11.38am update: Let’s get Brexit going – IDS 

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said he would back the motion to get Brexit going, warning a longer extension on April 12 is “death in terms of our voters” and would mean the UK “will never leave” the EU.

He said: “We are in a chamber of people who really don’t want to leave the European Union at all and I know and honour my friends who have fought and campaigned to get this changed.

“I simply say to them right now we need to have a moment where we recognise what we need to take hold of is that one element that gets us out, leaves us out, and then shuts down the debate about future referendums, and allows us to take the confidence that under a new leadership we can go forward to change the nature of what is in this process.

“I, therefore, say to my colleagues that for me this is not an easy decision because there is a lot about this Bill that I do not like – and I stand on that position.

“But I do say if we don’t send this forward to look at the legislation we will rue that day because we will end up having to accept what I think is a damaging and destructive extension – meaning we will never leave the European Union.

“If we say we stand up for 17.4 million people then we have to get those people what they asked for – to leave the European Union and this now is the only way.”

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Brexit vote live: Brexiteers gather to protest as MPs debate the deal (Image: GETTY )

11.21am update: UK would be ‘politically castrated’ if it entered Irish backstop 

Sir William Cash told the House: “It is not good enough for us to arrive at a point where we are politically castrated, precisely because for a number of years we will be put at the mercy of our competitors.

“That is the key issue, it’s not just the question of sovereignty in its own right, it’s the practical impact, the result of which we will end up by being put at the mercy of our competitors.”

11.16am update: We represent Northern Ireland – DUP 

DUP Westminster leader Nigel Dodds pointed out the DUP represented “more people than anybody else” in Northern Ireland.

He said: “All unionist parties agree that this is a problem for the union – let not people pretend that it is otherwise.

“That is why we have worked very hard with the Prime Minister to try to get those changes to the backstop that would have allowed us to vote on the Withdrawal Agreement.

“That is why we backed the Brady amendment, that is why we worked with her – sadly we have not made sufficient progress but let nobody pretend we don’t speak that we don’t speak for the unionists of Northern Ireland.”

Sir William Cash replied: “This is true. It is not good enough to speak about our precious union and then to damage it.”

READ MORE: Brexit live 

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Brexit vote live: Geoffrey Cox said it’s the last chance for certainty (Image: PARLIAMENT LIVE )

11.09am update: Precious union in danger 

DUP MP Ian Paisley (North Antrim) added: “This Withdrawal Agreement places irreversible damage forever and will be lasting on Northern Ireland and on our precious union.”

10.58am update: Tories clash in the Commons 

Tory disagreements emerged in the chamber, with Bob Seely, Conservative MP for Isle of Wight, suggesting to Sir Bill Cash that he was “letting the perfect be the enemy of the acceptable” before adding: “Today we have the chance to leave the European Union, and he and others are preventing that happening.”

Sir Bill, chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee, replied: “I, of course, want to leave the European Union but the problem with this Withdrawal Agreement is it does not represent Brexit in the terms in which the repeal of the 1972 Act, which is an Act of Parliament not only of Great Britain but also with Northern Ireland.

“Therefore, the constitutional status of Northern Ireland is at stake with respect to the question of the Northern Ireland backstop – and there is no doubt about that.”

Sir Bill criticised the backstop before outlining “serious worry” over the Government’s decision not to publish the legislation to implement the Withdrawal Agreement.

He said: “Ministers, some Secretaries of State, have actually said to me – without disclosing their names – that they do think we should see a copy of this Bill because until we see the drafting of it, it isn’t possible for us to be able to make a judgment about the impact it will have on the repeal of the 1972 Act, which itself is the anchor of the referendum.”

READ MORE: Brexit betrayal EXPOSED 

10.51am update: Cox accused of ‘dressing up political shenanigans’ 

SNP MP Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West) said Attorney General Geoffrey Cox was attempting to “dress up political shenanigans” and that the real motivation is to “usher in an unelected right-wing prime minister”.

She suggested Tories should “join the mob outside” after Speaker John Bercow had to intervene to call for MPs to stop trying to “shout her down”.

10.42am update: May blasted for ‘disastrous’ negotiations 

Speaking about the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration, shadow solicitor general Mr Thomas-Symonds said: “We have always been clear the two documents need to be taken together.

“The chicanery of this government in trying to separate them does them no credit whatsoever.

“The Government can seek to blame others as to why it can’t carry out the statutory approval process in its own legislation, but we are here today because this Government has manifestly failed on its policy over the last two years. The handling of the negotiation has been, frankly, disastrous.”

Mr Thomas-Symonds said the Prime Minister had had several opportunities to try to build cross-party consensus, but she had failed to do so.

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Brexit vote live: Nigel Dodds says DUP represent the people of Northern Ireland (Image: PARLIAMENT LIVE )

10.19am update: Deal is worse than ‘blindfolded Brexit’ 

Shadow solicitor general Nick Thomas-Symonds said MPs were being asked to vote on a proposition even worse than a blindfold Brexit.

The Labour MP for Torfaen said: “We used to say the Political Declaration was so vague it was a blindfold Brexit.

“But what we also now know, because the Prime Minister has made clear she intends to leave her office, is… the party opposite is asking us not only to be blindfolded but led into a different room by a different Tory prime minister.

“It’s a prime minister ultimately chosen by the Conservative Party members… It’s not in the national interest for the future of our country to be decided by a Tory leadership contest.”

10.08am update: Cox blames Bercow for Brexit chaos 

Mr Cox said the Government would have accepted a Labour backbench amendment to give Parliament the power to set the negotiating mandate for talks on the future relationship but it was not selected for consideration by Mr Bercow.

Labour’s Gareth Snell, who was the lead name on the amendment, asked if the measures would be included in legislation to ensure the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Mr Cox replied: “We would have accepted his amendments.

“If it requires an amendment to that legislation, we’d obviously consider its detail carefully, but we’d be minded to accept such.”

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Brexit vote live: MPs have been told backing May’s deal will give the UK certainty (Image: PARLIAMENT LIVE )

10.01am update: Barnier weighs in to Brexit vote 

The European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier tweeted: “Important vote today in @HouseofCommons. As a reminder, approval of Withdrawal Agreement by 29 March will secure extension to 22 May, as per #Brexit #EUCO last week.”

9.51am update: UK could be forced to rely on goodwill of House 

Mr Cox told MPs the UK would not be guaranteed a longer extension and the UK would have to “take a chance on the good will of the EU”.

He said: “This is the only right we have to an extension. 

“If we move into next week without securing it then we take the chance that of those 27 leaders they will veto.

“The Government has taken the view it would have been wrong to allow that time and date to expire without giving this house the opportunity to consider whether it should avail itself of the legal right or whether it should move into a position where any further extension will be at the discretion of the 27 leaders.

“All negotiated exits from the EU will require this Withdrawal Agreement to have been approved.”

His comments come after Hilary Benn said it would be better for MPs to reject the Withdrawal Agreement today because it would allow them to seek a longer extension from April 12.

Mr Benn said it would be better to have the option of a lengthy extension rather than the deadline May 22. 

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Brexit vote live: Theresa May’s Brexit faces one final test (Image: PARLIAMENT LIVE )

9.48am update: Political declaration is ‘subject to change’ 

Mr Cox said the motion acknowledges the political declaration is still “open to change” and that the EU has accepted it is open to change. He said the House is in the process of trying to find a “stable majority” for finding a solution in the future.

He said one option would be “to introduce the EU Withdrawal Implementation Bill, Agreement Bill, before this house”.

Mr Cox said the Government will introduce the bill within the next few days if today’s proposal is agreed. 

9.41am update: Cox aaccused of misleading House 

Stephen Doughty MP accuses of Cox of misleading the House over the significance of holding the vote today.  

But Mr Cox hit back telling the House had a “clear choice”, adding :approve the Withdrawl Agreement and secure its right to an extension, decline and know in doing so that by next week there will be no right to extension – any extension there will have to be some clear indication of part way forward and it is subject to the veto of those 27 member states. 

He argued that voting through the deal would be “taking advantage of the right we have in international law”. 

Mr Cox warned that “if we go to May 23 we would have to stand in European Elections”. 

The Attorney General said we “have the opportunity to embrace certainty”.  

Mr Cox said: “We put before the House the choice that the House faces today.

“What this choice will mean is that it will bring certainty to thousands of businesses and millions of individuals throughout this country, and to one million citizens of our country residing in the European Union.

“That is a not inconsiderable benefit. That certainty will be because, by taking the step of approving the Withdrawal Agreement today, it will set out a clear and certain pathway to our departure from the European Union.”

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Brexit vote live: MPs will vote on the Withdrawal Agreement at 2.30pm (Image: PARLIAMENT LIVE )

9.36am update: Geoffrey Cox welcomes the House

He said: ” “If this Withdrawal Agreement is not approved, then that extension will expire on April 11.

“That means that any other extension that this House might desire to be agreed by the union would be at its discretion, subject to the veto of 27 leaders.

“Therefore, by this evening, if the 11pm deadline expires and the agreement has not been approved, that legal right will expire with it.

“This is therefore the last opportunity to take advantage of our legal right.”

9.31am update: No amendments on Withdrawal Agreement 

Speaker John Bercow told MPs he has not selected any amendments to the Government’s Withdrawal Agreement motion.

A vote is expected at 2.30pm on Friday.

Additional reporting by Rebecca Perring.

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