Hindustan Times (Gurugram) - - News - Pra­sun Son­walkar pra­sun.son­[email protected]­dus­tan­ ■

As the clock ticks ahead of Tues­day’s vote on the Brexit agree­ment in the House of Com­mons, Con­ser­va­tive Party rebels re­jected an over­ture from Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May to give MPs a new role in the with­drawal process in or­der to en­list their sup­port.

May’s amend­ment re­lates to the so-called “back­stop” ar­range­ment in the agree­ment for North­ern Ire­land, which en­vis­ages the UK tied to Euro­pean Union rules if a trade pact is not signed with the bloc by De­cem­ber 2020, the end of the Brexit tran­si­tion pe­riod.

The rebels and North­ern Ire­land-based Demo­cratic Union­ist Party (DUP) want to scrap the “back­stop”, since they see it as ty­ing the UK to EU rules for an in­def­i­nite pe­riod. The DUP is prop­ping up the mi­nor­ity May gov­ern­ment in Lon­don.

After May sug­gested that MPs could be “given a role” in de­cid­ing whether to ac­ti­vate the back­stop, Con­ser­va­tive Brex­i­teer Steve Baker said: “Giv­ing Par­lia­ment the choice be­tween the devil and the deep blue sea is des­per­ate and will per­suade very few.”

DUP leader Ar­lene Fos­ter tweeted: “Do­mes­tic leg­isla­tive tin­ker­ing won’t cut it. The legally bind­ing in­ter­na­tional with­drawal treaty would re­main fun­da­men­tally flawed, as ev­i­denced by the at­tor­ney gen­eral’s le­gal ad­vice.”

In the face of the near im­pos­si­bil­ity of the agree­ment be­ing passed, May re­mained hope­ful, dis­patch­ing her min­is­ters across the UK to can­vass sup­port from the peo­ple and MPs.

Gov­ern­ment de­part­ments put in place emer­gency mea­sures to deal with a sit­u­a­tion in which the UK leaves the EU on March 29, 2019 without a deal to re­place the cur­rent con­gru­ence of rules with the 28-na­tion bloc. If there is no al­ter­na­tive ar­range­ment in place on March 30, 2019, cur­rent EU rules will no longer be in force, af­fect­ing every­day life in the UK.


■ An anti-Brexit pro­tester holds plac­ards as he demon­strates out­side the British Par­lia­ment in Lon­don.

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