Labour gets ready for Brexit no-con­fi­dence vote

Mean­while, British PM warns of catas­tro­phe if law­mak­ers don’t back her deal

The New Paper - - NEWS -

LON­DON Get ready for a no-con­fi­dence vote, if British Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May suf­fers a heavy de­feat over her Brexit deal in Par­lia­ment to­mor­row.

That is the call op­po­si­tion Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn has made to his MPs. The mo­tion could pos­si­bly be tabled within hours of the Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment’s loss and the vot­ing tak­ing place on Wed­nes­day, MPs were told.

The mes­sages have been sent to the MPs, even those who are un­well, to en­sure their pres­ence both for the “mean­ing­ful vote” on Mrs May’s Brexit blue­print to­mor­row and the fol­low­ing day, the Ob­server re­ported.

Un­der British elec­toral law, the Con­ser­va­tives would have two weeks to try to form a new gov­ern­ment after los­ing a con­fi­dence vote. Only after that would an elec­tion be called, Bloomberg re­ported.

If his move fails, Mr Cor­byn will face pres­sure to back a sec­ond Brexit ref­er­en­dum.

A be­lea­guered Mrs May warned law­mak­ers that fail­ure to back her plan to leave the Euro­pean Union would be cat­a­strophic for Bri­tain, in a plea for sup­port.

With the clock tick­ing down to its March 29 exit from the EU and Par­lia­ment dead­locked, Bri­tain faces a hugely un­cer­tain path that could lead to a dis­or­derly exit or even re­main­ing in the bloc, Reuters re­ported.

Mrs May, who postponed a vote in Par­lia­ment on her deal in De­cem­ber after ad­mit­ting she was set to lose it, said law­mak­ers must not let down the peo­ple who backed Brexit in a June 2016 ref­er­en­dum.

“Do­ing so would be a cat­a­strophic and un­for­giv­able breach of trust in our democ­racy,” she wrote in the Sun­day Ex­press.

“So my mes­sage to Par­lia­ment this week­end is sim­ple: It is time to for­get the games and do what is right for our coun­try.”

Brexit Min­is­ter Stephen Bar­clay told BBC TV that per­suad­ing enough law­mak­ers to sup­port the deal would be “chal­leng­ing”, but even if it was re­jected, he sus­pected Par­lia­ment would ul­ti­mately sup­port some­thing “along the lines of this deal”.

Mr Cor­byn said leav­ing the EU with­out a deal would be cat­a­strophic and his party would do ev­ery­thing it could to pre­vent that out­come, Reuters re­ported.

After a week in which Par­lia­ment forced the gov­ern­ment to prom­ise to come back with a “Plan B” within days if Mrs May’s deal is re­jected, Mr Bar­clay said the risk of Par­lia­ment act­ing in a way that frus­trates Brexit had in­creased.

The Sun­day Times re­ported that rebel law­mak­ers were plan­ning to wrest con­trol of the leg­isla­tive agenda away from Mrs May with a view to sus­pend­ing or de­lay­ing Brexit, cit­ing a se­nior gov­ern­ment source.

Mr Vince Ca­ble, the leader of the pro-EU Lib­eral Democrats, said Par­lia­ment would act to pre­vent a no-deal Brexit and could ul­ti­mately seek to pre­vent Brexit al­to­gether.

Mr Ca­ble said this could be done by re­vok­ing Ar­ti­cle 50, the mech­a­nism that trig­gered the exit process, or by hold­ing a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Mr Jeremy Cor­byn has sig­nalled Labour will trig­ger a no-con­fi­dence vote if Mrs May’s Brexit deal is re­jected.

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