Brexit: UK parliament sends Theresa May back to Brussels — how it happened | News | DW | 29.01.2019
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages

News

Brexit: UK parliament sends Theresa May back to Brussels — how it happened

British lawmakers have told Theresa May to reopen negotiations on a controversial provision within her Brexit withdrawal deal. The European Union says it's not interested in fresh talks. Here's how the debate unfolded.

  • MPs have demanded that Prime Minister Theresa May renegotiate her Brexit deal's controversial Northern Irish backstop with the European Union.
  • Brussels, however, has insisted it will not reopen talks to amend the draft deal, which has already been signed off by the other 27 EU member states.
  • MPs also backed a separate amendment calling on the government to avoid a no-deal Brexit on March 29.

Read more: As UK's EU withdrawal nears, Germany steps up Brexit prep

All updates in Central European Time (CET)

23:59 The Irish government said the draft deal "is not open for renegotiation" despite May's demands. "The agreement is a carefully negotiated compromise, which balances the UK position on customs and the single market with avoiding a hard border and protecting the integrity of the EU customs union and single market."

23:37 The British pound tumbled against the euro and dollar following the parliamentary session. The pound was at €1.14 and $1.30 on Tuesday evening, down roughly 0.7 percent compared to the day before.

Read more: Emotions run high as Brexit closes in

23:23 A US lawmaker has chimed in from the other side of the Atlantic. Brendan Boyle, a Democrat of Irish descent who represents Pennsylvania, said: "After agreeing to the Irish backstop, Theresa May's government has now reneged on it. Why would anyone negotiate with her now?"

23:20 Helen McEntee, Ireland's European Affairs minister, said May's demands for binding changes to a draft Brexit deal backed by the EU amounts to reneging on the British government's commitments during negotiations.

"It's exasperating at this stage because this is a deal which was negotiated with the UK, by the UK, signed off by the UK and the prime minister — and now it looks as though this evening, essentially, there is a row-back and a reneging on the commitments that were made," McEntee told Irish broadcaster RTE.

Read more: Why is the Irish backstop so controversial?

23:13 London Mayor Sadiq Khan called for a second referendum, saying: "It's time to give the public the final say on Brexit — with the option to stay in the EU. He argued that sending May back renegotiate a deal is pointless because "the EU has already said they will not do" so.

22:53 The deputy leader of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives (CDU/CSU) has said Britain's behavior is "damaging" trust between London and Brussels. "May is mistaken if she places her hope on fresh negotiations," Katja Leikert said.

22:50 French President Emmanuel Macron dismissed fresh negotiations over the Irish backstop. France, he said, would start stepping up preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

22:10 Theresa May's spokesman has said British lawmakers sent the EU a clear signal about what it needs to accept to avoid a no-deal Brexit. "Tonight parliament has sent a clear message that there is a
way forward to secure this deal if we are able to secure changes in relation to the backstop," he said.

22:04 The Irish government has also ruled out renegotiating the backstop arrangement in the Brexit deal.

 

21:57 A spokesman for the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, has rejected any renegotiation of the existing Brexit deal. "The Withdrawal agreement is and remains the best and only way to ensure an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union," the spokesman said.

21:40 MPs have approved Graham Brady's Amendment N, 317-301. The motion, which was also supported by Brexit hard-liner European Research Group (ERG), instructs May to return to Brussels to reopen negotiations over the Irish backstop — something the EU has so far ruled out.

21:30 MPs are now voting on the seventh and final amendment, which is endorsed by Theresa May and also likely to pass. Conservative MP Graham Brady's Amendment N calls for the backstop to be replaced with alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border in Ireland and says parliament would support May's Brexit deal if this change were made.

21:27 Amendment I is the first to be approved by MPs. The 318-310 vote is a defeat for Theresa May who maintains the only way to take a no-deal Brexit off the table is to vote in favor of an agreement with the EU. The non-binding motion calls on the government to rule out leaving the EU on March 29 without a deal.

21:09 MPs have voted on five amendments and Amendment J is the fifth to fall. 322-290. Two more left to vote on, the first of which has been proposed by Conservative MP Caroline Spelman and supported by lawmakers from most political parties: Amendment I seeks to rule out a no-deal Brexit.

20:55 MPs vote against Cooper's Amendment B 321-298, a victory for Prime Minister Theresa May who opposed the plan. Next up is Amendment J, which also seeks an extension to the Article 50 deadline of March 29.

MPs vote against Labour lawmaker Yvette Cooper's proposal to delay Brexit (Reuters/Handout UK Parliament/J. Taylor)

MPs vote against Labour lawmaker Yvette Cooper's proposal to delay Brexit

20:42 Dominic Grieve's amendment is rejected 321-301. MPs and are now focusing on Labour lawmaker Yvette Cooper's key proposal, Amendment B. It requires the government to make time for legislation giving Theresa May until February 26 to get a deal approved, otherwise Brexit would be postponed until December 31.

20:37 MPs overwhelmingly reject Ian Blackford's amendment 327-39 and will now consider Amendment G. Proposed by Conservative MP Dominic Grieve, it demands that lawmakers are given six days to propose their own debates on Brexit. Any proposals approved by parliament on those days would not be binding on the government but would be politically difficult to ignore.  

MPs reject Jeremy Corbyn's motion that would have called for the country to remain in a permanent customs union with the European Union 327- 296 (Reuters/Handout UK Parliament/J. Taylor)

MPs reject Jeremy Corbyn's motion that would have called for the UK to remain in a permanent EU customs union

20:13 MPs vote to reject Jeremy Corbyn's Amendment A 327-296 and will next vote on Amendment O put forward by the Westminster leader of the Scottish National Party, Ian Blackford. It calls on the government to seek an extension to Article 50 and rule out a no-deal Brexit. It also demands that Scotland — which voted in favor of remaining in the EU — should not be taken out of the bloc against its will.

20:02 Lawmakers are voting on Amendment A proposed by opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, which requires parliament to consider alternative options to prevent a no deal exit, including seeking a permanent customs union with the EU and holding a second referendum.

20:00 The Brexit hard-liner European Research Group (ERG) says it has collectively agreed to support the Brady amendment. "We have collectively agreed to support Brady on the basis of the prime minister's promises, especially as regards reopening the Withdrawal Agreement, and that the backstop is only the worst problem," said Conservative MP and ERG deputy chairman, Steve Baker. 

19:45 MPs will shortly begin voting on seven non-binding amendments. The one to watch is Amendment N, proposed by senior Conservative lawmaker Graham Brady and endorsed by Theresa May. It would commit the government to renegotiating the so-called backstop, a kind of insurance policy aimed at preventing a hard border in Ireland. 

Also worth keeping an eye on is Amendment B from Labour lawmaker Yvette Cooper, which gives May until February 26 to get a deal approved, otherwise Brexit would be postponed until December 31.

An anti-Brexit demonstrator outside the Houses of Parliament, in Westminster, London (Reuters/P. Nicholls)

An anti-Brexit demonstrator protests outside the Houses of Parliament, in Westminster, London

19:20 French President Emmanuel echoes the EU's Brexit position, saying the existing deal is the "best possible" and "not renegotiable," reports Agence France-Presse news agency.

18:30 Nigel Dodds, deputy leader of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), says his party will support the amendment authored by senior Conservative lawmaker Graham Brady and endorsed by Theresa May. It calls for the backstop to be replaced with alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

17:40 Ireland's prime minister, Leo Varadkar, says he will speak with May after tonight's voting in Westminster to see "what the next steps are," reported Irish public broadcaster RTE.   

17:30 The European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties has unanimously backed draft rules to waive visa requirements for UK nationals entering the EU for stays of up to 90 days following Brexit. The exemption does not provide for the right to work in the bloc. The draft specifically states that the waiver will be granted on the basis of reciprocity.   

17:20 Britain's National Health Service says it has cancelled blood donation sessions at the port towns of Dover and Folkestown for two weeks before and six weeks after Brexit over possible disruption caused by potential issues in other freight ports, including Calais, France.

17.05 Ireland's Department of Finance has outlined what tariffs the World Trade Organization (WTO) would apply to UK exports to the EU. Meat prices would be subject to tariffs of an average of 50 percent, noted Gavan Reilly. 

17.00 Theresa May spoke to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker before addressing parliament earlier this afternoon, according to Reuters news agency. The call was confirmed by her spokesman, who did not discuss what was said.

16:42 Manfred Weber, the parliamentary leader of the conservative European People's Party, says the existing Brexit deal is a "compromise between many interests." 

Weber says that "if there is now a unilateral attempt to reopen the agreement, the consequence will be that not just the backstop has to be renegotiated — then the Gibraltar question, the question of how much money Britain has to pay for exiting, the question of citizens' rights will have to be renegotiated."  

Watch video 03:01
Now live
03:01 mins.

'No room for maneuver' on Brexit deal

16:25 Ireland's finance minister warns of a shrinking Irish economy, increased unemployment and deteriorated public finances in the event of a no-deal Brexit. 

16:20 The European Union will not reopen the Brexit agreement with Britain, according to a diplomat from the bloc cited by Reuters news agency. The comments were reportedly made after May said there would have to be "significant" change to her deal to win parliament's support.

16:15 Labour MP Pat McFadden tweets that Theresa May is appealing to parliament to "drive a coach and horses through the deal she spent two years concluding." 

16:10 A no-deal Brexit would weaken British and European economies, warns the US Director of National Intelligence. "This would cause economic disruptions that could substantially weaken the UK and Europe," Dan Coats tells a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on "worldwide threats."

15:45 Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn tells lawmakers there is no chance the government will pass all legislation needed in time for a March 29 exit from the European Union. He says it is "inevitable" that it will have to delay Brexit. He said the first duty is to block a no-deal Brexit.

15:40 Conservative MP Steve Double confirms he will be supporting the prime minister and voting for the Brady proposal (See: Amendment N below). 

15:00 Seven amendments have been chosen for debate this afternoon:

Amendment A: Proposed by opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, it requires parliament to consider alternative options to prevent a no deal exit, including seeking a permanent customs union with the EU and holding a second referendum.

Amendment O: Put forward by the Westminster leader of the Scottish National Party, Ian Blackford, it calls on the government to seek an extension to Article 50 and rule out a no-deal Brexit. It also demands that Scotland — which voted in favor of remaining in the EU — should not be taken out of the bloc against its will.

Amendment G: Proposed by Conservative MP Dominic Grieve. It demands that lawmakers are given six days to propose their own debates on Brexit. Any proposals approved by parliament on those days would not be binding on the government but would be politically difficult to ignore.

Amendment B: Labour lawmaker Yvette Cooper's proposal requires the government to make time for legislation giving May until February 26 to get a deal approved, otherwise Brexit would be postponed until December 31.

Amendment J: Proposed by lawmakers from Labour, May's Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats, this calls on the government to request an extension to the Article 50 deadline if a deal has not been approved by February 26.

Amendment I: Put forward by Conservative MP Caroline Spelman and supported by lawmakers from most political parties, it seeks to rule out a no-deal Brexit.

Amendment N: Theresa May has asked her MPs to support this proposal — authored by senior Conservative lawmaker Graham Brady — which calls for the backstop to be replaced with alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border in Ireland and says parliament would support May's Brexit deal if this change were made.

14:50 Theresa May tells the UK parliament there's a "willingness" on the EU side to "agree a deal," but that MPs must state clearly what they want. "That is an opportunity we have today," she adds.

ls, amp, kw/aw,se (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters) 

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here. 

DW recommends

WWW links

Audios and videos on the topic

Advertisement