MPs debate Plan B as Brexit deal sees May-day

Jan 10, 2019, 10:00 IST | Agencies

Lawmakers will vote next Tuesday on the agreement that May has negotiated with the EU over the last 18 months, which faces daunting opposition as the clock ticks down before Britain leaves the European Union

MPs debate Plan B as Brexit deal sees May-day
Theresa May

British MPs on Wednesday began five days of debate ahead of a historic delayed vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, a day after giving her a stinging blow aimed at preventing Britain from crashing out of the bloc with no agreement.

Lawmakers will vote next Tuesday on the agreement that May has negotiated with the EU over the last 18 months, which faces daunting opposition as the clock ticks down before Britain leaves the European Union.

The prime minister has warned rebels in her own party that defeat will lead to a no-deal Brexit, or no departure from the bloc at all. But in a major setback that presages likely defeat in next week's vote, MPs approved an amendment that will curtail the government's tax powers in case of a no-deal Brexit.

David Lidington, May's effective deputy, called the House of Commons defeat "inconvenient" yet ineffectual and insisted the government remained focused on winning approval for May's plan.

"We are focused on getting any possible vote in favour of the PM's deal," he said. "I don't think the British public are served by fantasies about magical alternative deals. The choice people have is this deal or no deal, or — as some MPs advocate — to reverse the 2016 referendum entirely."

However, ardent Brexit supporters who favour a clean break when Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on March 29 look set to rebel over fears the draft divorce deal could lead to some kind of customs union with the bloc.

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