Gavin Williamson: Back Brexit deal or leave without one

Gavin Williamson: Back Brexit deal or leave without one

A senior European Union official is floating the possibility of a two-step delay to Britain's departure from the bloc, now scheduled for March 29.

The original government vote tonight was meant to give MPs a chance to delay Brexit - with some reports that Article 50 could be extended for as long as two years.

There is no path to victory for May without winning many more of the Brexiteers' votes.

The vote makes it likely that the March 29 departure date set down in law, which May has repeatedly emphasised, is likely to be missed, although it is unclear by how long. Only 85 MPs voted for the amendment and 334 voted against, while even supporters of a second referendum from the main opposition Labour Party abstained because they said the timing of the vote was not right.

The proposed changes would address the most contentious part of the divorce deal - an insurance policy aimed at avoiding controls on the sensitive border between the British province of Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland.

She added: "They'll know it's a rubbish a deal".

The Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, which May depends on for a majority in Parliament, said it is in talks with the Government, which is trying to convince its lawmakers to support the Prime Minister. But he welcomed Westminster's vote to extend Article 50, as it reduces the likelihood of a cliff edge, no-deal Brexit at the end of the month.

She has warned lawmakers opposing the agreement that if it is rejected, Britain will need a much longer extension that could see Brexit postponed indefinitely.

Fishing boats take part in a demonstration against the terms of the current Mrs May's Brexit deal
Fishing boats take part in a demonstration against the terms of the current Mrs May’s Brexit deal

With less than two weeks before Britain is due to leave the EU, Mrs May seems to be clinging on to her waning authority by a thread after a series of humiliating defeats.

May's government and her Conservative Party are divided and discipline has frayed, with several ministers refusing to back the government's line in voting.

In a desperate effort to avoid a third night of humiliating defeat, Theresa May's deputy David Lidington promised MPs the Government would stage its own indicative votes after next week's European Union summit if the Brexit deal fails again.

May plans to hold another vote on her deal next week although lawmakers have already rejected it twice.

A senior Government source told The Mail on Sunday that the Tory rebels should appreciate the constitutional consequences of a long extension: 'At the very least, the United Kingdom would be expected to take part in the European Parliament elections, at a cost of more than £100 million.

German Justice Minister Katarina Barley said Britain must use any extra time productively.

Anyway, it doesn't matter which route the Remainer establishment wants to take in its efforts to reverse Brexit, they all rely on an extension of Article 50 in order to give them time to put major legislation in place to achieve it.

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