May Day as Brexit decision looms
THE United Kingdom is headed for constitutional chaos, with Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plans set to be categorically rejected by the parliament this week.
The so-called “meaningful vote’’ on how the UK should exit the European Union will go to the House of Commons today (early tomorrow morning in Australia), but is expected to be defeated by as many as 100 votes.
MPs have been running a procedural guerrilla war all last week in Westminster and have succeeded in forcing Mrs May to table her Plan B by Monday next week if her Bill gets thrown out as expected.
What that Plan B might look like is still unknown, and Mrs May spent the weekend in a last-ditch offensive trying to convince MPs to support her original Bill.
But the Sunday Times reported that rebel backbenchers from the Conservative and Labour parties were plotting another procedural move that would see them hijack the timings for the passage of legislation in parliament.
If successful, this would give them the power to delay Article 50, the legislation requiring Britain to leave the EU by March 29.
This could then be used to suspend Brexit, but would extend the period of uncertainty surrounding the UK’s future customs, immigration and travel rules, hitting the economy hard.
The Prime Minister was warned by her aides that the plot, if successful, would see the government “lose its ability to govern.’’
Mrs May penned an open letter and published it in the Sunday Express, warning it would be “catastrophic’’ if her plans to leave the EU were not accepted.
She said parliament had a duty to deliver on the results of the 2016 referendum, where the British people
BIGGEST AND MOST IMPORTANT DECISION THAT ANY MP OF OUR GENERATION WILL BE ASKED TO MAKE
voted to leave the EU.
Mrs May said the vote in the House of Commons was the “biggest and most important decision that any MP of our generation will be asked to make”.
The Prime Minister said failing to deliver on the referendum would be “a catastrophic and unforgivable breach of trust in our democracy.’’
MPs on all sides of the debate were furiously negotiating for support for their preferred outcome.
Brexiteers continued to push for a “no-deal’’ departure — which would see Britain crash out of the EU at midnight on March 29 with no agreements with Brussels.