Brexit: See how your MP voted on the contempt motion

07 December, 2018, 07:56 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May during a debate on the Brexit withdrawal agreement in the House of Commons in London on Dec 4 2018

"The vote will take place on Tuesday as planned", May's spokeswoman said.

Mrs May said: "We have delivered a deal that honours the vote of the British people".

A day after she faced a humiliating defeat in the House of Commons as MPs voted to hold her government in contempt over a refusal to publish the document, May laid out the six-page document in the public domain attracting allegations of "inadvertently misleading" Parliament by some MPs.

Asked if Mrs May still felt she could command a majority in the Commons for the crunch vote next Tuesday, a Downing Street source said: "Everybody knows the parliamentary arithmetic".

But EU negotiator Michel Barnier said on Thursday the deal was the best Britain will get, while British finance minister Philip Hammond said it was "simply a delusion" to think the agreement could be renegotiated if parliament rejects it.

This could open the door for the Commons to throw its weight behind a Norway-style soft Brexit or even a second European Union referendum, though prominent Leave-backing MPs questioned whether any such vote would be binding on ministers.

Both opponents and allies alike have spent days criticising the agreement, especially the backstop, meant to ensure there is no return to a hard border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland.

The Newbury MP voted in favour of an amendment which will hand power to MPs if Theresa May's Brexit withdrawal agreement is rejected.

He said the longer the backstop lasted, the more likely it would be that it was not consistent with European Union law - meaning it could be challenged in the courts.

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The vote, passed by 311 votes to 293, is the first time in history Parliament has held a Government in contempt.

Worries about the backstop are a driver of opposition to the deal among both May's own Conservative lawmakers and the Northern Irish democratic unionist party (DUP) which props up her minority government.

"This risk must be weighed against the political and economic imperative on both sides to reach an agreement that constitutes a politically stable and permanent basis for their future relationship".

She insisted a backstop arrangement to avoid a hard border in Ireland was inevitable in any deal, including "Norway" and "Canada" options being proposed by some as alternatives to her plan.

But Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful 1922 committee of Conservative backbenchers, has told her to think again as more than 100 Tory MPs have publicly slammed the deal - with many angry the United Kingdom could be locked into the Northern Ireland backstop indefinitely.

She said: "I am talking to colleagues about how we can look at parliament having a role in going into that and coming out of that".

Opening a third day of debate, Mr Hammond told the Commons a no-deal Brexit would be "too bad to contemplate".

"All week we have heard from Government ministers that releasing this information. could harm the national interest".

Mr Javid warned that "no matter how effectively" the government prepares for a no-deal Brexit, there would be "consequences" for the UK's security.

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