This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
THERESA MAY suffered a second heavy defeat over her Brexit deal tonight after 391 MPs voted against it.
A majority of 149 MPs voted against accepting the Withdrawal Agreement as just 242 MPs voted for it.
This means that 81 MPs changed their mind in favour of the plan since the first vote on their deal took place in January, when it was rejected by a massive 230 vote majority.
MPs will be voting on Wednesday on whether to leave the EU on a “no-deal” basis. If that is voted down, then they would vote on whether to extend Article 50.
Senior Tory Charles Walker, vice-chairman of the 1922 Committee of back-bench Tory MPs, had predicted that if Ms May’s Brexit deal was rejected a second time “there will be a general election within a matter of days or weeks.”
Hours before the second "meaningful vote", Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused the Tory government of trying to “fool its own backbenchers” by using "smoke and mirrors" to quash MPs' fears that the backstop would tie Britain to the bloc’s rules indefinitely.
This came after European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker had said that he had given Ms May “clarifications” and “legal guarantees” over the backstop on Monday night in Strasbourg.
Mr Corbyn said Mr Juncker and Ms May’s meeting merely amounted to “late-night theatre.”
This also echoes the concerns of the PM’s attorney general Geoffrey Cox QC, who said that the “legal risk [of the backstop] remains unchanged” and that Britain would have no legal means of exiting the backstop without EU agreement.
Mr Corbyn had urged MPs to reject the deal because “not a single change” has been made to the Withdrawal Agreement.
He pointed out that there were also no legal guarantees for a unilateral exit mechanism, time limit or alternative arrangements for the backstop.
In December, Ms May postponed the first “meaningful vote” until January, which saw her deal roundly rejected by a majority of 230 MPs, the largest number in modern British history.
Mr Corbyn accused her of “coming back to the scene of previous disasters with exactly the same proposal” yesterday.
He condemned the government for using “weasel words and obfuscation” by having claimed that the so-called “legally binding joint instrument” for the backstop “reduces the risk the UK could be deliberately held in the Northern Ireland backstop indefinitely.”
He said that the use of the words “reduces” and “deliberately” mean that a risk will not be eliminated.
Mr Corbyn continued: “This is smoke and mirrors. The illusion of change, when the reality is that nothing has changed. This is spin, not substance, from the Prime Minister.”
He also criticised Ms May for trying to entice Labour MPs to vote for her deal with “empty promises about workers’ rights” made in her speech in Grimsby last week.
She had claimed that being aligned with EU workers’ rights would mean that they would be downgraded if the EU lowered theirs.
Mr Corbyn said: “That is simply not true. EU standards are a floor not a ceiling. If the EU chose to reduce those minimum standards it would not compel the UK to lower its standards.”
He reiterated Labour’s demands for Brexit to include a permanent customs union, close alignment with the single market, alignment on rights and protections, commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes, and agreements on the detail of future security arrangements.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.