MPs defeat Government over no-deal Brexit tax powers

Audrey Hill
January 9, 2019

That would put the country on track to tumble out of the bloc without a deal, putting jobs and the economy at risk as new tariffs and bureaucratic barriers strangle trade with the continent. "I think what's important is that if we are to secure assurances, MPs are aware of what they are before the vote takes place", the spokesman said.

The technical changes to a crucial piece of government legislation were meant to demonstrate to ministers the strength of opposition to a no-deal Brexit in the Commons.

May slammed MPs asking for a second referendum.

The Brexit deal took almost 2 years to negotiate and only covers separation issues, leaving open the future relationship - but it has provoked anger on all sides in London.

"I'm anxious we could come to the crunch and parliament will not have the powers to stop [no deal] happening", she said.

MPs will vote on 15 January on whether to accept the legally-binding terms of withdrawal negotiated by Mrs May, as well as a framework of future relations with the EU.

The Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which May's ruling Conservative Party relies on to command a majority in parliament, has urged the British leader to stand firm in demanding that the European Union changes its "poison" backstop provision on Ireland's post-Brexit border, however.

"It would be a gross dereliction of responsibility of members of this house to inflict a no-deal situation on our constituents", she said.

Her warning came as Mrs May told the first meeting of Cabinet since the Christmas break that she continues to seek assurances from the European Union to address concerns over issues like the proposed "backstop".

The prime minister said Parliament will be given its say next Monday or Tuesday on the withdrawal agreement she has forged with the EU.

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What next if UK MPs reject Brexit deal? Instead, she warned pro-Brexit lawmakers not to let the ideal be the enemy of the good, lest "we end up with no Brexit at all".

She said it would be "gross dereliction of responsibility by members of this house to inflict no-deal on our constituencies", and added: "Britain is renowned, as a wise general said to me a few weeks ago, for our confidence and our competence".

The move by Corbyn - himself criticised for his failure to push for a second referendum - came after the First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) Nicola Sturgeon said that she would announce her preferred timetable for a second referendum on Scottish independence "when we get to the end of this phase of the Brexit process".

The number indicates an all-time low in support for the deal.

But parliamentary opposition to her deal remains fierce, with the main sticking point being the safety net "backstop" measure - which would guarantee no hard border is erected on the island of Ireland in the event that post-Brexit trade negotiations between the United Kingdom and the bloc prove unsuccessful.

"We're going to be in uncharted territory if this deal does not go through", May warned in an interview with the BBC. May has invited the signatories to a meeting in Downing Street on Tuesday to hear their concerns.

He added that if that occurred we should demand legal assurances and "some sort of undertaking on a free trade deal", saying: "This will get very, very sticky, very close to the end, that is what will happen".

The Commons amendment, tabled by Labour's Yvette Cooper, is created to limit the Treasury's ability to spend money implementing a no-deal exit, including raising certain taxes, without the explicit consent of Parliament.

Former Tory education secretaries Nicky Morgan and Justine Greening, ex-ministers Sir Oliver Letwin, Nick Boles, Dominic Grieve, Sir Nicholas Soames, Guto Bebb, Phillip Lee, Ed Vaizey and Jonathan Djanogly, as well as May's former policy adviser George Freeman, were among them.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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