London–UK Prime Minister Theresa May was facing an increasingly uphill struggle in her bid to push her government’s Brexit plan through Parliament on Wednesday as opposition lawmakers pushed for amendments to minimize the chances of a no-deal in case her deal gets voted down.
May, leader of the Conservative Party minority government, took part in a second day of debate in the House of Commons, the UK’s lower chamber of lawmaking, since proceedings recommenced in the new year almost a month after an initial parliamentary vote on the topic was postponed at the last minute to avoid an almost certain flop.
Dominic Grieve, a pro-European Tory MP, lodged an amendment for debate on Wednesday that, if successful, would force May to reveal a plan B for Brexit within three days if her current deal fails when it is put to a re-scheduled vote on January 15, Efe news reported.
It followed a similar measure tabled late on Tuesday by opposition Labour Party backbencher Yvette Cooper which sought to limit the government’s ability to use taxpayer money in case of a no-deal Brexit.
The cross-party moves against the government were an effort to prevent May from using the threat of a no-deal Brexit, whereby the UK would crash out of the bloc with no future framework in place, as leverage to wind down the clock and convince MPs to back her plan, which she has presented as the only option available.
The UK is due to leave the EU on March 29, exactly two years after May enacted Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to officially notify the European Commission of the UK’s decision to leave following a referendum in 2016.
Senior Labour officials, under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, have advocated a fresh general election in order to secure a better deal with the EU.
The EU has consistently said the package, which was agreed upon after two years of talks, was not up for re-negotiation.
Adding to May’s woes was the Democratic Unionist Party, a right-wing regional platform from Northern Ireland that props up the Prime Minister’s executive, which has threatened to shoot down the plan unless it gets further clarifications on the terms and conditions of the Irish backstop.
The backstop would act as an insurance policy to maintain an open border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in the event of a no deal.
The pro-British DUP, however, has objected to the hypothetical situation that Belfast could, therefore, be held in regulatory alignment with Dublin rather than London.
All negotiating parties have expressed their desire to avoid the need for such a backstop. (IANS)