Theresa May Promises U.K. Lawmakers Brexit Vote by February 27

Andrew Cummings
February 12, 2019

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is likely to lead a bid to force Mrs May to hold another vote on the whole of her Brexit deal by the end of February.

Signing the agreement in Bern today, worldwide trade secretary Liam Fox said: "Switzerland is one of the most valuable trading partners that we are seeking continuity for, accounting for more than £32bn worth of trade a year". The Prime Minister's official spokesman said she would address MPs a day earlier than expected to give MPs more time to "digest the content" ahead of a series of votes scheduled for Thursday, allowing parliamentarians another chance to alter the course of Brexit or seek a delay.

There appears little prospect of an imminent breakthrough with Brussels, and Mrs May might not bring her deal back for a decisive vote this month.

In her response in the letter, the Prime Minister said she wanted the Tory and Labour teams to consider "alternative arrangements" to the Irish backstop.

May and her government have repeatedly said membership of a customs union would prevent it having an independent trade policy - something they have promoted as one of the main economic benefits of leaving the EU.


"Not only will this help to support jobs throughout the United Kingdom but it will also be a solid foundation for us to build an even stronger trading relationship with Switzerland as we leave the EU", Fox said.

The move comes after Mrs May responded to Mr Corbyn's letter last week setting out Labour's terms for backing a deal, with an offer of further talks.

"We shouldn't be put in a position where the clock is run down and the prime minister says it's either my deal or even worse".

Mrs Leadsom said: "I think she's making quite clear that what Corbyn is demanding is actually not as good as what the Prime Minister's deal is offering".

"He now wants to frustrate Brexit very largely by staying in a permanent customs union".


The deal garnered significant controversy because of a provision known as the Northern Irish backstop, with Brexiteers insisting a no-deal, full Brexit from the European Union would be preferable to a Theresa May deal with that provision.

May's Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay, traveled to Strasbourg on Monday to meet the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, and talk about the Irish backstop issue, which aims to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic by binding the United Kingdom to European Union rules until a free-trade deal is inked, something critics fear could indefinitely trap the United Kingdom in a watered-down version of European Union membership.

"I think that you would need to have a time limit". Although lawmakers asked for the backstop to be removed, May has said since that the backstop will remain, and that Parliament merely asked for it to be altered.

But she said the Government is prepared to commit to asking Parliament if it wishes to follow suit if standards change.


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