Historic week ahead as Brexit vote arrives at long last
The long-awaited vote on Theresa May’s Brexit vote tomorrow will start a dramatic week ahead likely to shape the country’s future for years to come. Chris Burn reports.
The moment of truth for Theresa May’s much-discussed and frequently-derided Brexit deal will finally arrive tomorrow evening when MPs decide whether to support the withdrawal agreement proposals she has put forward – unless of course the vote is postponed at the last minute again, as it was last month.
Mrs May is expected to fall to a heavy defeat in the House of Commons – deepening the current political crisis gripping Parliament with two-and-ahalf months to Brexit.
It remains to be seen what will happen after the vote if her Withdrawal Agreement fails but Mrs May has previously said that the options facing the country are her deal, no deal or no Brexit at all.
However, it is possible that rejection of the current agreement may lead to Brussels deciding to reopen negotiations once again.
Nonetheless it would take a brave person to confidently predict what the next few days will bring as momentous decisions about the future of the country are taken.
The stakes could barely be higher. As Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned on Friday: “If we were, as a political class, not to deliver Brexit, that would be a fundamental breach of trust between the people and the politicians. I think that is something that we would regret for many, many generations.”
Brexit uncertainty has been blamed for a recent slowdown in the housing market, particularly in London and the South-East.
More information about the current picture will come to light later this week, with an Office for National Statistics house price study being published on Wednesday, followed by a UK Finance report on mortgages the following day. Home owners, first-time buyers and estate agents are sure to be watching with interest.
She probably will have already started by the time you have picked up today’s paper but Zoe Ball is beginning a new era for Radio 2 today as the first female presenter of the station’s flagship Breakfast Show – taking over from Chris Evans who has moved back to Virgin Radio.
It’s one of several schedule changes at the station following Evans’ nine-year tenure coming to an end as well as Simon Mayo’s decision to leave his afternoon show – Rylan Clark-Neal is joining to take over Ball’s weekend slot and there are new weekday programmes for Jo Whiley, Trevor Nelson and Sara Cox, who moves to Drivetime.
Ball will still continue with her Strictly: It Takes Two spin-off show when Strictly Come Dancing returns to screens later in the year.
Her appointment has caused some controversy, with former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson suggesting men can no longer get jobs at the BBC. She told the Daily Mirror she had got the job on merit. “I’ve always felt all the jobs I’ve ever got are on merit. I’m such a Beeb girl, they’ve always been great to me,” she said. “I’ve worked at ITV and Channel 4, but the BBC has always felt like home. I really hope everyone says, ‘She got the job as she was the right person’.”
Speaking of Jeremy Clarkson, fans of the motoring presenter will be excited to know the latest series of his show The Grand Tour is on the horizon.
A screening and launch event will take place in London on Tuesday, attended by Clarkson and his co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May.
Fans won’t have long to wait to see it for themselves – the new series will become available on Amazon Prime on Friday. Mongolia, Colombia and Hong Kong are all expected to feature as locations in this year’s episodes.
UNDER PRESSURE: Can Theresa May confound expectations that she will lose a vote on her Brexit plan?