Britain’s May says Brexit deal defeat could topple government

Media reports said May is under pressure from her cabinet to delay the vote. (REUTERS)
Updated 10 December 2018
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Britain’s May says Brexit deal defeat could topple government

  • May is facing her biggest crisis since coming to power a month after the nation voted by a 52-48 percent margin in June 2016 to leave the world’s largest single market after 46 years

LONDON: Prime Minister Theresa May warned on Sunday if parliament rejects her Brexit deal, it could leave Britain in the European Union and bring the opposition Labour Party to power.
The embattled leader’s message came with her government fearing a heavy defeat in Tuesday’s parliamentary vote on the draft withdrawal agreement she signed with Brussels last month.
Media reports said May is under pressure from her cabinet to delay the vote and fly to Brussels to secure more concessions ahead of a planned summit with the other 27 EU leaders on Thursday and Friday.
But Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay told the BBC: “The vote is going ahead.”
May said Britain “would truly be in uncharted waters” if the text agreed after nearly two years of tortuous negotiations is voted down less than four months before the March 29 Brexit date.
“It would mean grave uncertainty for the nation with a very real risk of no Brexit,” she told the Mail on Sunday.
“We have a leader of the opposition who thinks of nothing but attempting to bring about a general election... I believe Jeremy Corbyn getting his hands on power is a risk we cannot afford to take.”

May is facing her biggest crisis since coming to power a month after the nation voted by a 52-48 percent margin in June 2016 to leave the world’s largest single market after 46 years.
She is under attack from more strident Brexit backers in her party as well as europhiles who want either a second referendum or a pact that maintains stronger EU-UK ties than the one offered by May.
Her comments on Sunday were aimed at tamping down the hard-line Conservative Party revolt led by the likes of her former foreign minister Boris Johnson.
May’s team insists that her vision offers the cleanest break between the UK and EU that Brexit supporters can hope for at this late stage.
But Johnson used a column in the Sun on Sunday to argue that “the best way to get a great deal is to prepare for no deal” by rejecting May’s draft.
Corbyn’s party is hoping that failure in parliament on Tuesday will trigger a broader revolt that leads to early elections and returns Labour to power for the first time since 2010.
“I think time is really running out for her and if you can tell me if she will still be prime minister on Tuesday evening then perhaps I can tell you what we do next,” Labour MP John Trickett told Sky News.
He added that Labour was “ready to form a minority government should that be necessary — and it could happen on Wednesday morning.”
Newspapers have identified more than six current and former ministers in May’s cabinet who are also ready to run for her job should she falter over the coming days.
The febrile political atmosphere was reinforced by rival pro- and anti-Brexit rallies that drew thousands in different parts of London.

Brexit’s outright reversal is still a longshot that would probably require a second Brexit referendum that May has repeatedly ruled out.
EU supporters will be pinning their hopes on a European Court of Justice ruling on Monday on Britain’s right to unilaterally halt Brexit in its tracks.
May faces a tough time convincing EU leaders to offer better divorce terms that could appease the mutinous Northern Irish party that propped up her government for more than a year.
EU President Donald Tusk signalled no concession after speaking to May by phone on Sunday.
“It will be an important week for the fate of #Brexit,” Tusk said on Twitter.
Yet Brussels also wants to see May succeed and avert the economic nightmare that could unfold should Britain break away without any arrangements underpinning future trade.
European officials said they might be able to find a way to offer a token concession in Brussels that May could take back to London.
But they added that such tinkering cannot alter the basis of the withdrawal agreement itself.
The two sides might “work on the (accompanying) protocol or clarify a point that is deemed important so that she can take it back to parliament,” an informed European source told AFP on condition on anonymity.
May would then be expected to submit the touched-up version for a second vote at an unspecified date.


China suspends Canadian meat imports amid Huawei dispute

Updated 26 June 2019
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China suspends Canadian meat imports amid Huawei dispute

  • The latest action against Canada comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heads to Japan for the G-20 summit
  • Before acting against Canadian meat, China previously stopped importing certain Canadian products like canola

TORONTO: China is suspending all meat imports from Canada amid their dispute over the Canadian detention of a top executive at the Chinese tech company Huawei.
The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa said in a statement on its website Tuesday that the move follows Chinese customs inspectors’ detection of residue from a restricted feed additive, called ractopamine, in a batch of Canadian pork products. It is permitted in Canada but banned in China.
“China has taken urgent preventive measures and requested the Canadian government to suspend the issuance of certificates for meat exported to China,” the statement said.
Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei CFO and daughter of the company’s founder, was arrested Dec. 1 in Canada at the request of US authorities, who want to try her on fraud charges.
China then detained two Canadians and sentenced another to death in an apparent attempt to pressure for her release.
The latest action against Canada comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heads to Japan for the G-20 summit. US President Donald Trump is expected to meet with his Chinese counterpart amid trade talks.
Meng’s arrest set off a diplomatic furor among the three countries, complicating high-stakes US-China trade talks and severely damaging Beijing’s relations with Ottawa. Canada wants Trump to speak on behalf of Canada to Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Chinese have refused to talk to senior Canadian government officials, including Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. Trudeau had hoped to meet with Xi at the G-20 but that appears unlikely.
Before acting against Canadian meat, China previously stopped importing certain Canadian products like canola.
Justine Lesage, a spokeswoman for Canada’s agriculture minister, said in a statement that the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency identified an issue involving inauthentic export certificates that could affect the export of pork and beef products to China.
She said the agency has “taken measures to address this issue and is continuing to work closely with industry partners and Chinese officials.”
“The Canadian food system is one of the best in the world and we are confident in the safety of Canadian products and Canadian exports,” she said.