Wednesday, February 21

May considering fourth deal vote



Theresa May is considering bringing her Brexit deal back to the Commons for a fourth vote next week and has hinted that she may call a general election if Parliament cannot agree a way forward.

I fear we are reaching the limits of this process in this House, she told MPs who voted her deal down again on Friday. Her remarks appeared to signal that she is prepared to call a General Election to try to break the deadlock.

Mrs May said the vote would have grave implications and that failure to support her plan was almost certain to involve an extended delay to Brexit, with the UK required to hold elections to the European Parliament in May.

Mrs May will not be able to bring her deal back to the Commons for a fourth attempt until MPs have taken part in the second round of a series of indicative votes on alternatives to the deal.

One idea being mooted at Westminster, was that if one option did emerge as a clear favourite there could be a final run-off vote with Mrs May’s deal.

The Prime Minister is consulting senior ministers over the weekend on the way ahead after MPs voted on Friday to reject the Withdrawal Agreement by a majority of 58.

Following the defeat on what was supposed to be Brexit day, Labour called on Mrs May to finally accept that her deal was dead and to call a general election.

But Downing Street sources have made clear she has not given up hope of getting it through Parliament, despite having already suffered three crushing rejections by MPs.

On Monday, MPs will stage a second series of indicative votes on alternatives as backbenchers, led by Tory former minister Sir Oliver Letwin, again take control of Commons business from the Government.

As European Council president Donald Tusk called an emergency summit for April 10, the European Commission said a no-deal break on April 12 was now a likely scenario.

Irish premier Leo Varadkar whose country is likely to be the remaining member state hardest hit by no-deal said that it was up to Mrs May to come forward with a plan to prevent that happening.

In Europe, however there was alarm that, with time running out, the UK was heading for a no-deal Brexit.

The result of the vote means that the Government has missed an EU deadline to secure an extension of the Brexit process and leave with a deal on May 22.