Bri­tish PM suf­fers Brexit de­feat

Viet Nam News - - FRONT PAGE -

LON­DON — Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May re­turned to the House of Com­mons yes­ter­day af­ter a se­ries of stun­ning de­feats by MPs that threaten her gov­ern­ment and could change the course of Brexit.

May will take ques­tions from MPs the day af­ter they found her min­is­ters in con­tempt over the le­gal ad­vice on her EU with­drawal agree­ment, and gave them­selves a big­ger say if as ex­pected the deal is re­jected on De­cem­ber 11.

The North­ern Ir­ish party, on which the prime min­is­ter re­lies for sup­port in par­lia­ment, sided with the main op­po­si­tion Labour party on the con­tempt vote, rais­ing se­ri­ous ques­tions about her abil­ity to gov­ern.

Mean­while, 25 of her own Con­ser­va­tive MPs voted with Labour to give the Com­mons the abil­ity to de­cide what hap­pens next if it votes down the Brexit deal.

“The day May lost con­trol,” read the front page head­line of the Con­ser­va­tive- sup­port­ing


In a dra­matic hour on Tues­day evening, the gov­ern­ment lost three key votes that ex­posed just how lit­tle sup­port it has in the Com­mons, as MPs as­sert their power ahead of Bri­tain’s exit from the EU in March.

North­ern Ire­land’s Demo­cratic Union­ist Party (DUP) joined op­po­si­tion MPs in two votes that found min­is­ters in con­tempt of par­lia­ment for fail­ing to pub­lish in full the le­gal ad­vice on the Brexit deal.

Com­mons leader An­drea Lead­som said the de­ci­sion was “in­cred­i­bly dis­ap­point­ing”, as it broke cen­turies of con­ven­tion of keep­ing such ad­vice se­cret, but said the doc­u­ment would be pub­lished yes­ter­day.

MPs also voted to ap­prove an amend­ment tabled by Con­ser­va­tive for­mer at­tor­ney gen­eral Do­minic Grieve, which al­lows par­lia­ment to de­ter­mine what hap­pens if the deal falls.

If May loses the vote next week, the gov­ern­ment has 21 days to re­turn to MPs to say what hap­pens next.

Grieve’s amend­ment, which passed by 321 votes to 299, could al­low MPs to amend that state­ment, rais­ing the pos­si­bil­ity they could de­mand a re-ne­go­ti­a­tion, a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum or even stay in the EU.

“Brexit on the brink,” head­lined the

May opened the first of five days of de­bate on the Brexit deal on Mon­day evening, with a per­sonal plea for MPs not to sab­o­tage the re­sult of months of tough ne­go­ti­a­tions with the EU.

“This ar­gu­ment has gone on long enough. It is cor­ro­sive to our pol­i­tics and life de­pends on com­pro­mise,” she said.

The eight- hour de­bate, which con­tin­ued un­til 1: 00am, was char­ac­terised by heck­ling from all sides.

Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn called May’s plan “a huge and dam­ag­ing fail­ure for Bri­tain”.

For­mer for­eign min­is­ter Boris John­son, who quit over May’s ap­proach to Brexit in July and has long had his eye on her job, warned that Bri­tain threat­ened to be­come the EU’s “de facto colony”.

There are few peo­ple who be­lieve May’s deal will now sur­vive the vote next Tues­day, but the ques­tion of what hap­pens then re­mains wide open.

Some Con­ser­va­tive MPs are push­ing for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum, with a choice of stay­ing in the EU, and they re­ceived an un­ex­pected boost on Mon­day.

Cam­pos Sanchez- Bor­dona, the ad­vo­cate gen­eral of the Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice ( ECJ), said in a non- bind­ing opin­ion that Lon­don had the right to halt Brexit with­out the agree­ment of other EU states. — AFP

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