Theresa May resumes her bid to win Parliament’s support for her Brexit deal, a day after lawmakers voted to make it harder for the U.K. to crash out of the European Union without an agreement.
Government’s planned timetable is for five days of debate on the bill, followed by a vote on Jan. 15 Government to publish plans for Northern Ireland assembly to get veto powers related to backstop laws; DUP not impressed
Gardiner: Labour Plans Confidence Vote If Deal Fails (11 a.m.)
Barry Gardiner, the opposition Labour Party’s shadow international trade secretary, said earlier his party will table a no confidence motion in the government if -- as expected -- Parliament votes down Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
“Obviously, the next thing to do immediately after that is for there to be a vote of confidence in the government,” he told BBC Radio 4. “The appropriate time to table a motion of no confidence in the government is when the government loses its key legislation and no longer commands a majority in the House of Commons.”
DUP Not Buckling Over Backstop (10:50 a.m.)
It looks like the government’s charm offensive, designed to win over the DUP, is dead on arrival. David Lidington, Prime Minister Theresa May’s de facto deputy, today laid out plans (8:30 a.m.) to give Northern Ireland’s assembly power to stop new laws coming to play in relation to the backstop. At first glance, this would seem to give the DUP potential to prevent any rule divergence with the rest of the U.K., neutering the backstop.
But the DUP’s Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson moved quickly to kill off any hope this would be enough to sway his party. Speaking to Sky, Wilson dismissed the idea as “window dressing” and pointed out that London could still overrule Belfast if local lawmakers were to block rules flowing from the backstop. The party’s position remains that the backstop provision must be removed entirely from the withdrawal agreement or else apply to the entire U.K., he said.
EU Business Goes On (10:10 a.m.)
Seemingly oblivious to the chaos in London, envoys of the EU’s 27 remaining governments meet in Brussels at 3 p.m today to discuss the implementation and legal ratification of the withdrawal agreement struck in November.
Ambassadors will discuss a so-called note verbale to be sent to the EU’s counterparties in hundreds of international agreements, notifying them that they should continue treating the U.K as if it were a member of the EU during the transition period, according to a draft of the note seen by Bloomberg.
It’s a stark reminder of the risk that the U.K crashes out of key international accords, to which it is a signatory in its capacity as member of the EU, if there’s no deal and no transition period.
The implementing act also foresees the issuance of a residence permit for all U.K nationals living in the bloc, on the basis of a format and technical specifications to be decided by the EU Commission. The residence status will be “evidenced” in accordance with the withdrawal agreement, according to the draft legal act seen by Bloomberg. If there is an agreement, that is...
Northern Ireland May Get Veto on Backstop Laws (8:30 am)
The Northern Ireland Assembly could be given power to stop new Brexit laws coming into force under plans due to be published today, David Lidington, Prime Minister Theresa May’s de facto deputy, said in broadcast interviews Wednesday. The proposals would give Northern Ireland a veto over introducing any new areas of law and policy if the so-called Irish backstop provision in the Brexit deal is triggered.
The move is designed to help sway the Democratic Unionist Party, which props up May’s government, to back the divorce terms she negotiated with Brussels. But it may fall foul of the European Union as it could water down the impact of the backstop, which is meant to ensure no hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit.
It’s also not clear that it will be enough to sway the DUP, especially given that the Northern Ireland Assembly is currently suspended.
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