Theresa May told the House of Commons on Monday that the Northern Ireland border backstop issue is to blame for deferring the vote. She said there is “widespread and deep concern” over the backstop. But it is not clear whether the Prime Minister will head back to Brussels to try thrash out a ‘better’ deal for Brexit, or whether another date will be set for a parliamentary vote in the new year.
The Prime Minister acknowledged the deal has problems, but insisted her deal is the best one the country can get, and honours the results of the referendum.
An EU summit is scheduled for later this week, when the remaining EU leaders were meant to vote on the deal, but whether Mrs May will now use the summit as an opportunity to renegotiate remains to be seen.
BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg tweeted: “Not clear from May’s statement whether she plans to bring back a tweaked proposal for another vote before Christmas, or for everyone to stuff themselves full of turkey, come back having had a big old think and vote in January – let’s see if anyone can get an answer out of her.”
Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said there was “no point” in Mrs May returning from Brussels with the same deal.
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There is great doubt over what the EU might be willing to budge on this week.
Mrs May said “we should go boldly back to the European Union” to gain more reassurance that the backstop can be temporary.
But she warned that if the backstop is scrapped, equally undesirable scenarios might be put forward, such as a Northern Ireland only customs union.
Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Vince Cable said he would support Jeremy Corbyn if he decided to proceed to a no-confidence vote “as duty surely calls.”
This is a breaking news story, more to follow.