UK cabi­net minister floats ‘Plan B’ ahead of key vote on Brexit deal

Oman Daily Observer - - EUROPE -

LON­DON: A close ally of Bri­tish Prime Minister Theresa May on Satur­day be­came the first cabi­net minister to float a pos­si­ble Plan B if, as ex­pected, parliament next week re­jects her plan to leave the Euro­pean Union.

With her own fu­ture in the bal­ance, May in­sists her deal, la­bo­ri­ously ne­go­ti­ated with the EU over many months, is the only one on the ta­ble and that the al­ter­na­tives are a painful ‘no-deal’ exit from the EU or pos­si­bly no Brexit at all.

How­ever, members of parliament, in­clud­ing from May’s own Con­ser­va­tive Party, look set to re­ject her deal, which en­vis­ages con­tin­ued close ties with the EU, in a move that would pitch the world’s fifth-largest econ­omy into even deeper uncer­tainty.

While agree­ing with May that her deal pro­vides the best op­tion for ex­it­ing the EU, Am­ber Rudd, the work and pen­sions minister, said a Nor­way-style re­la­tion­ship with the bloc might also of­fer a way out of the cur­rent dead­lock.

“If it (May’s plan) doesn’t get through any­thing could hap­pen: peo­ple’s vote, Nor­way plus, any of these op­tions could come for­ward,” she told BBC ra­dio on Satur­day.

Rudd told The Times news­pa­per in an in­ter­view her own pre­ferred op­tion, if May’s deal failed, was the “Nor­way Plus” model, ad­ding it “seems plau­si­ble not just in terms of the coun­try but in terms of where the MPS are”.

Nor­way is not an EU mem­ber but is in the bloc’s sin­gle mar­ket, which al­lows for free move­ment of goods, cap­i­tal, ser­vices and peo­ple. ‘Nor­way plus’ en­vis­ages Bri­tain also stay­ing in the EU’S cus­toms union, which Nor­way is not in.

Some pro-eu law­mak­ers have also ex­pressed sup­port for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum on EU mem­ber­ship, or ‘a peo­ple’s vote’.

The Times also re­ported on Satur­day that plans were be­ing made across party lines to vote against May’s lead­er­ship if she loses Tues­day’s vote. The Daily Tele­graph quoted a se­nior Con­ser­va­tive law­maker as say­ing she might be forced to re­sign.

Rudd said she be­lieved May should stay on as prime minister even if parliament re­jects her Brexit deal.

“There is no ques­tion of her go­ing,” Rudd told the BBC.

But The Times said the main op­po­si­tion Labour Party was seek­ing an al­liance with rebel Con­ser­va­tives and the Demo­cratic Union­ist Party, the small North­ern Ir­ish party which props up the mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment, to call a vote of no-con­fi­dence in May’s premier­ship.

That vote would not be bind­ing but would place enor­mous pres­sure on May to re­sign, it added.

Con­ser­va­tive law­maker and for­mer leader Iain Dun­can Smith was quoted in the Tele­graph as say­ing her lead­er­ship could come into ques­tion if she lost Tues­day’s vote.

“I be­lieve that if (May’s) re­sponse is “we’ve lost but we will do this all over again”, it will be­come a lead­er­ship is­sue,” it re­ported him as say­ing.

The news­pa­per also said three min­is­ters were con­sid­er­ing re­sign­ing in op­po­si­tion to her deal, with­out cit­ing sources.

— Reuters

Am­ber Rudd leaves 10 Down­ing Street, Lon­don.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Oman

© PressReader. All rights reserved.