With two months to go before the country is due to leave the EU, Britain has decided it can’t accept a key component of Brexit: the so-called Northern Ireland backstop, which could keep the province in the EU’s single market for goods, and the whole of the United Kingdom in a customs union with the EU, indefinitely so long as no alternative solution is found to prevent a hard border with the Republic of Ireland.
Parliament voted on Tuesday night to ask Prime Minister Theresa May to renegotiate Britain’s withdrawal with the EU and seek “alternative arrangements” to the backstop.
Two weeks ago, Parliament voted down the Brexit treaty she had negotiated altogether. Read more
Last night, Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal was voted down by the British parliament in an historic defeat.
This came even after she delayed the vote, which was meant to take place in December, to try to shore up support for the agreement.
The three largest opposition parties — Labour, the Scottish Nationalists and the Liberal Democrats — voted against the deal. So did the junior governing party, the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland (DUP), along with 118 of May’s own Conservatives.
In all, the treaty, which is meant to regulate Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, was rejected by 432 to 202 votes. Read more
Northern Irish, Scots Would Rather Stay in EU Than UK
Without an agreement to regulate Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, a majority of Northern Irish and Scots would rather remain in the bloc than in the United Kingdom.
Even with the deal Prime Minister Theresa May has negotiated, which provides for a two-year transition out of the EU and avoids a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, a majority of Scots would prefer to break away from the UK. Read more
EFTA Is Not an Alternative to Theresa May’s Brexit Deal
The Sun reports that British cabinet secretaries Michael Gove and Amber Rudd — the former a leader of the 2016 campaign to leave the EU, the latter a “remainer” — intend to push for membership of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) with Labour’s support if and when Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal fails in Parliament.
This plan is unlikely to succeed, for two reasons:
It confuses the withdrawal agreement with the political declaration on the future EU-UK relationship.
Neither the EU nor the EFTA would accept it as a short-term solution. Read more
Why Spain’s Threat to Hold Up Brexit Over Gibraltar Is Theater
Spain has demanded greater clarity on the status of Gibraltar before signing off on the treaty that is meant to regulate Britain’s exit from the EU in March 2019.
“We want the interpretation to be clear in that text that the negotiations between the United Kingdom and the EU will not apply to Gibraltar,” Josep Borrell, the Spanish foreign minister, said on Monday.
Here is why his demand is a bit of a dud. Read more