May Day as Brexit de­ci­sion looms

Sunshine Coast Daily - - WORLD -

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 THERESA MAY

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.

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