Former UK minister calls for second vote on Brexit to end stalemate

Former British minister, Justine Greening, (REUTERS)
Updated 16 July 2018
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Former UK minister calls for second vote on Brexit to end stalemate

  • The amendments seek to limit the government's ability to set up the customs arrangements May has advocated, which would keep close ties to Europe
  • May has ruled out a rerun of the 2016 vote in which Britons voted 52-48 percent to leave the bloc

LONDON: A former senior British minister called on Monday for a second referendum to solve a parliamentary stalemate on Brexit, saying Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposals for new ties with the European Union were a fudge that satisfied no one.
Justine Greening, an ex-Education Secretary who quit the government in January, said May’s negotiating strategy would neither please those who wanted a clean break with the EU nor those who opposed Brexit altogether.
“We’ll be dragging Remain voters out of the EU for a deal that means still complying with many EU rules, but now with no say on shaping them,” Greening wrote in the Times newspaper.
“It’s not what they want, and on top of that when they hear that Leave voters are unhappy, they ask, ‘What’s the point?’. For Leavers, this deal simply does not deliver the proper break from the European Union that they wanted.”
May has ruled out a rerun of the 2016 vote in which Britons voted 52-48 percent to leave the bloc.
Her Brexit negotiating strategy, which aims for a close relationship with the EU after Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019, was only agreed with her cabinet earlier this month after two years of wrangling. Two senior ministers resigned in protest shortly afterwards.
May is now facing a possible rebellion from Brexit supporters in her Conservative Party who want her to ditch her plan when lawmakers vote on amendments to legislation on the government’s post-Brexit customs regime on Monday.
However, she has told unhappy lawmakers that they needed to back her or risk there being no Brexit at all.
Greening said that with divisions in the Conservatives and the opposition Labour Party over how to proceed with Brexit, there should be another vote, with the public able to choose between May’s plans, a “no-deal” break with the EU or remaining in the bloc.
“The only solution is to take the final Brexit decision out of the hands of deadlocked politicians, away from the backroom deals, and give it back to the people,” she said.


Version of PM May’s deal can get through parliament: Hunt

Updated 15 December 2018
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Version of PM May’s deal can get through parliament: Hunt

  • May pulled a vote on her deal this week after acknowledging it would be heavily defeated over concerns about the divorce agreement’s “backstop”

LONDON: Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Saturday that the British parliament could back Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal if lawmakers received assurances from the European Union, but warned that a no deal Brexit was still on the table.
May pulled a vote on her deal this week after acknowledging it would be heavily defeated over concerns about the divorce agreement’s “backstop,” an insurance policy designed to avoid any hard land border for Ireland but which critics say could bind Britain to EU rules indefinitely.
“When the dust has settled, the only way we’re going to get this through the House of Commons ... is to have a version of the deal that the government has negotiated,” Hunt told BBC radio.
Following a summit in Brussels on Friday, May said it was possible that the EU could give further guarantees that the backstop would be temporary although the bloc’s other 27 leaders told her they would not renegotiate the treaty.
Hunt said the EU was likely to make concessions to avoid Britain leaving without any deal, a scenario that both sides say would be highly damaging for business and their economies.
“The EU cannot be sure that if they choose not to be helpful and flexible ... that we would not end up with no deal,” Hunt said. “We cannot in these negotiations take no deal off the table. I don’t think the EU could be remotely sure that if we don’t find a way through this we wouldn’t end up with no deal.”
The Times newspaper reported on Saturday that most of May’s senior ministerial team thought her deal was dead and were discussing a range of options including a second referendum.
“Brexit is in danger of getting stuck – and that is something that should worry us all,” pensions minister Amber Rudd wrote in the Daily Mail newspaper.
“If MPs (lawmakers) dig in against the Prime Minister’s deal and then hunker down in their different corners, none with a majority, the country will face serious trouble.”