UK to vote again on Brexit on Jan 29

The British Parliament expects to vote on Brexit again on Jan. 29 following extended debate on the government’s plans and possible amendments.

Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom told Parliament Thursday that the date has been set aside for a full day of debate and voting.

The leader of the Welsh political party Plaid Cymru has said it was “good to talk” to Prime Minister Theresa May about the Brexit deadlock.

Party leader Adam Price said Thursday after meeting with May that the discussions focused on what he called “the surest way” to break the stalemate: a so-called “people’s vote” on Brexit.

Price said that “we had a fairly lengthy discussion about that and we set out some of the criteria which could be adopted. We are available to continue those discussions.”

He also said it is “essential” that May take the no-deal option off the table.

The prime minister is meeting with various opposition parties as she seeks a consensus in Parliament on how to proceed. She has thus far ruled out a second referendum.

In the meantime, the French government has activated its plans for handling the effects of a no-deal Brexit, which has become “less and less unlikely”, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said Thursday.

Speaking after a ministerial meeting called to discuss the British Parliament’s rejection of the divorce deal negotiated with the EU,

Philippe said: “I have taken the decision to activate the plan for a no-deal Brexit or hard Brexit as it is sometimes called.”

Prime Minister Theresa May plans to return to Parliament on Monday to present her revised Brexit plan following the crushing defeat of her withdrawal plan.

Main opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party has thus far declined to meet with the prime minister.

Prime Minister Theresa May won a confidence vote in the British parliament on Wednesday and then appealed to lawmakers from across the political divide to come together to try to break the impasse on a Brexit divorce agreement.

Lawmakers voted 325 to 306 that they had confidence in May’s government, just 24 hours after handing her European Union withdrawal deal a crushing defeat that left Britain’s exit from the bloc in disarray.

With the clock ticking down to March 29, the date set in law for Brexit, the United Kingdom is now in the deepest political crisis in half a century as it grapples with how, or even whether, to exit the European project it joined in 1973. After the results of the confidence vote were announced to cheers from her Conservative lawmakers, May said she believed parliament had a duty to find a solution that delivered on the 2016 Brexit referendum result.

But with lawmakers (MPs) deadlocked on the way forward, the United Kingdom could face a disorderly “no-deal” Brexit, a delay to Brexit, or even another referendum on membership.

“Now MPs have made clear what they don’t want, we must all work constructively together to set out what parliament does want,” May said in a statement outside her Downing Street office.

“That’s why I am inviting MPs from all parties to come together to find a way forward. This is now the time to put self-interest aside.” After the confidence vote, May met several party leaders, but the main opposition leader, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, refused to hold talks unless a no-deal Brexit was ruled out.

The votes on Tuesday and Wednesday brought into sharp relief the problem May faces; trying to win over pro-EU supporters in her own and other parties without alienating those who keep her in power - for instance, by giving up the “no-deal Brexit” that they see as a crucial bargaining chip. “The confidence and supply arrangement (to support May) of course is built upon delivering Brexit on the basis of our shared priorities,” said Nigel Dodds, deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party.

NO DEAL, NO TALKS

However, Corbyn said no positive talks were possible unless a no-deal Brexit was taken off the table. His party wants a permanent customs union with the EU, a close relationship with its single market and greater protections for workers and consumers.

May’s spokesman said she was not ruling out a no-deal option and that it was government policy to be outside an EU customs union. Critics said this meant May was not budging from the deal that had alienated all sides in parliament. Other opposition parties wrote to Corbyn after the confidence vote to demand he now back a second referendum, which Labour has agreed should be considered if it cannot force an election.

However, he and other senior political figures fear that stopping Brexit could alienate the 17.4 million people who voted to leave.

Companies warned of catastrophic job losses and chaos at ports if there was no deal.

“NO MORE GAMES”

Tuesday’s crushing defeat appears to have killed off May’s two-year strategy of forging an amicable divorce in which a status-quo transition period would be followed by Britain operating an independent trade policy alongside close ties to the EU, the world’s biggest single market. Other members of the EU, which combined has about six times Britain’s economic might, called for discussion but indicated there was little chance of fundamental change to the deal May had negotiated.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that “the time for playing games is now over”.