Despite clear ministerial statements to the contrary yesterday morning, rumours that today’s scheduled vote on the Brexit deal would be delayed were confirmed yesterday afternoon, when the Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed to the House that she will postpone the vote. It is not yet clear when the postponed vote will now take place.
The Prime Minister candidly accepted that the vote ‘would be rejected by a significant margin’ but the announcement was met with disbelief and anger from many sides of the House. Earlier on Monday morning, Michael Gove categorically stated the vote would go ahead.
Theresa May has said she now intends to go back to the EU to try to renegotiate a better deal. The major sticking point remains the contentious Northern Irish ‘backstop’.
The backstop has proved hugely divisive and controversial, as it proposes a legally binding customs arrangement with the EU that many critics believe will leave the UK subjected to EU law without any decision making power, which has been viewed as an unacceptable proposal by ‘Brexiteers’ and ‘Remainers’ alike.
However, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has said that Europe will not renegotiate. Theresa May has echoed this herself to the House – describing it as the best deal possible, now leaving the government with a much weakened hand in the light of yesterday’s U-turn.
Many MPs were furious with the government’s last minute cancellation of the vote after literally days of parliamentary time devoted to debating the deal. Indeed the Speaker of the House raised his own concerns with the manner in which the issue arose yesterday afternoon.
The Prime Minister faces yet more criticism and calls to resign. With under four months to go, it seems the Brexit saga is far from over and those who are worried about what our relationship with the EU will look like after 29 March 2019 will have to wait a little longer to find out. This includes the thousands of families and businesses, whose livelihoods depend to a significant degree on the eventual outcome.
Gherson are monitoring these developments and we will post more updates as the latest news is released. Should you have any related enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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