British parliament rejects Theresa May’s Brexit deal again

British parliament rejects Theresa May’s Brexit deal again

British parliament rejects Theresa May’s Brexit deal again

The UK parliament has again rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal after she secured legally binding assurances from Brussels on the controversial Irish "backstop" - but the changes weren't enough to placate lawmakers.

It comes as British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker meet in Strasbourg for talks.

On Tuesday, before the vote, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox delivered legal advice that the changes "reduce the risk" Britain could be trapped inside European Union regulations, but did not eliminate it.

Hours before a vote on the deal in parliament, May had failed to win over the main Brexit faction in her own party, while Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up her minority government, said it would vote against her.

Cabinet office minister David Lidington told the House of Commons that the two sides agreed on a "joint instrument" clarifying the withdrawal deal.

"The backstop will endure indefinitely, unless and until superseded by another agreement, save in the extreme and unlikely event that in future negotiations the European Union acts in bad faith in rejecting the UK's demands".

British lawmakers, who on January 15 voted 432-202 against her deal, were studying the assurances with lawyers.

"If this vote is not passed tonight, if this deal is not passed, then Brexit could be lost", she said before the vote.

British Prime Minister had declared that she has secured the breakthrough which was required to get her the Brexit withdrawal agreement through a crunch vote in Parliament today evening. Though May cannot be challenged until December as Conservative Party rules, it could mean a major blockade for her position.

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The House of Commons is scheduled to decide Tuesday whether to approve the withdrawal agreement it resoundingly voted down in January.

The magic number of MPs the prime minister needs to back her deal is 318 - that is if everyone who can vote does so.

Much of the opposition on the right comes from concern over the "backstop" - a safety net by which the United Kingdom temporarily remains in a customs union until a trade deal in secured, so as to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Hard-line Brexit supporters in May's Conservative Party said she should postpone Tuesday's vote rather than risk another crushing defeat.

The mechanism, known as the backstop, is a safeguard that would keep the a customs union with the other 27 EU countries in order to remove the need for checks until a permanent new trading relationship is in place.

"Tomorrow there will be a fundamental choice - to vote for the improved deal or to plunge this country into a political crisis", he said.

May has said if she loses the vote on Tuesday, there will be further votes on Wednesday on whether the United Kingdom should leave with no-deal and on Thursday on whether they should seek an extension to the Article 50 withdrawal process.

"If MPs vote for Theresa May's Brexit deal, we edge closer to understanding exactly how and when Brexit will play out but whether that is positive or negative for the pound depends on the deal itself".

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has urged MPs to reject the deal, and Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said he will be surprised if the changes that have been made are sufficient to allow the Attorney General to alter his most recent legal advice.

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