Brexit: MPs defeat government over no-deal preparations

Gina Miller

Gina Miller

Labour former minister Yvette Cooper tabled an amendment to the Budget-enacting Finance (No. 3) Bill which attracted support from Tory rebels.

MPs have fired a warning shot across the Government's bows as they backed an amendment meant to limit ministers' tax raising powers in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

British Prime Minister Theresa May's aides are believed to be planning to make parliament's approval of her Brexit deal conditional on Brussels providing further concessions, specifically on the thorny issue of the Irish backstop, the Telegraph reported on Sunday (Jan 6).

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, said the spending restriction lawmakers passed was "an important step to prevent a no-deal Brexit".

"As I made clear the Government doesn't expect or want a no-deal scenario, that's why we've negotiated the withdrawal agreement that will see us leave the European Union in a smooth and orderly way on 29 March". "That is why we are taking every opportunity possible in parliament to prevent no deal".

The defeat highlights May's weak position as leader of a minority government, a divided party, and a critical parliament just days before she is due to hold a pivotal vote on whether to approve the Brexit deal she has negotiated with the EU. The "further measures", she said, would be set out before the vote on January 15.

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These assurances are set to be delivered to lawmakers before they vote, although not before they start their debate on Wednesday.

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. Trading on World Trade Organization terms would instantly make our manufacturers less competitive and make it very hard for the industry to justify producing goods in the United Kingdom for export.

One of her predecessors as Tory leader, Iain Duncan Smith, wrote in the Mail newspaper on Sunday that "this deal simply doesn't work, and, far from securing Brexit, it shackles us to the European Union".

They certainly have not stopped a no-deal Brexit.

She said: "I have laid this amendment because I'm really anxious that delays, drift or brinkmanship mean that there is now a serious risk we will end up crashing out of the European Union in just 80 days time".

"Peeling off five of 10 Conservative Party MPs is neither here nor there, but if you get the DUP in line, May will give lots of parliamentarians an excuse to say, 'Well, OK, if they're happy with it I can't really justify going around moaning about the Irish backstop'".

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Meanwhile, Business Secretary Greg Clark told the House of Commons that a no-deal Brexit "should not be contemplated".

"These are political assurances but there's nothing more we can do".

There are also a number of lawmakers who have said they will vote against the deal because they want another referendum on Britain's membership of the EU.

May has repeatedly said that the alternatives to her Brexit deal are "no deal" or "no Brexit".

"Deal or no deal, financial services companies" main priority is to protect their customers and investors from any post-Brexit fall-out and operational decisions are following a "prepare for the worst, hope for the best' strategy", Mr Ali added.

The taoiseach said that the conversation focused on securing the ratification of the withdrawal agreement which will be put to the House of Commons.

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But Mr Fox, who backs Mrs May's deal, said it would be "irresponsible to tie the government's hands" at this stage by ruling out any options.

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