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May draws up nine ways to save Brexit as MPs plot Article 50 delay

Defiant Eurosceptics vowed to fight on against Theresa May’s deal today despite the mounting threat that she will be forced to delay Brexit unless rebels get behind her. 

Tory MPs insisted they would ‘stare down’ growing pressure to back the PM’s package unless there are significant concessions from the EU.

The high-stakes wrangling comes as Mrs May desperately scrambles to fend off efforts by Remainers and Labour to tie her hands in a series of crunch votes on Tuesday.

Allies of the premier have conceded she will be forced to try to delay the UK’s departure date beyond March if the Houses passes a mechanism proposed by Yvette Cooper and pro-EU MPs next week. 

There have been glimmers of hope for Mrs May amid evidence that Eurosceptics and the DUP are looking for a way of climbing down and supporting her plan. 

Tory loyalist Simon Hoare told MailOnline today that he believed the ‘penny appears to be dropping’ among hardline colleagues that the ‘prize’ of Brexit might be lost unless they compromise.

But backbencher Johnny Mercer was praised by Eurosceptic MPs this morning after he demanded that Parliament stops ‘cowering from no deal’.

‘Are we brave enough to face down the prospect of leaving the European Union without a deal if that’s what it takes to keep the promise that has been made to the British people?’ he said.   

Mrs May pressed ahead with efforts to forge Brexit a consensus today, meeting union leaders including Unite's Len McCluskey (pictured) in Downing Street

Chief whip Julian Smith (left) was seen dashing in and out of Downing Street today as Mrs May pressed ahead with efforts to forge Brexit a consensus, meeting union leaders including Unite’s Len McCluskey (pictured right)

Theresa May (pictured in the Commons yesterday) has been presented with nine options for breaking the bitter deadlock in Parliament, including securing a unilateral get-out clause or time limit on the Irish border backstop

Theresa May (pictured in the Commons yesterday) has been presented with nine options for breaking the bitter deadlock in Parliament, including securing a unilateral get-out clause or time limit on the Irish border backstop

The PM has been presented with nine options for breaking the bitter deadlock in Parliament, including securing a unilateral get-out clause or time limit on the Irish border backstop.

On Tuesday Mrs May will ask Parliament to endorse her ‘Plan B’ for finding a way through the Brexit impasse – which involves tweaking the deal that was humiliatingly rejected last week, and bringing it back for another dramatic showdown. 

But an amendment tabled by Yvette Cooper would effectively turn the constitution on its head by seizing control of Parliamentary business from the government – allowing backbench MPs to put forward legislation demanding an extension to the Article 50 process. 

Remainer MPs DROP bid to force a ‘People’s Vote’ and blame Corbyn for killing chances 

Remainer MPs today dropped their bid to force a parliamentary vote demanding a second referendum - admitting they do not have enough support to back it (pictured, left to right, Luciana Berger,Sarah Wollaston and Chuka Umunna)

Remainer MPs today dropped their bid to force a parliamentary vote demanding a second referendum – admitting they do not have enough support to back it (pictured, left to right, Luciana Berger,Sarah Wollaston and Chuka Umunna)

Remainer MPs today dropped their bid to force a parliamentary vote demanding a second referendum – admitting they do not have enough support to back it.

The gang of Labour and Tory MPs who were backing a so-called People’s Vote blasted Jeremy Corbyn for killing off their chances of winning.

Tory MP Dr Sarah Wollaston had planned to table the ‘doctor’s amendment’ to next Tuesday’s crunch Brexit motion to demand a second referendum.

But stood outside Parliament this morning flanked by pro-EU Labour MPs Luciana Berger and Chuka Umunna, she announced a U-turn.

The shock moves comes after a massive row among Remainer MPs over when to finally show their hand a call a Commons vote on another referendum. 

Labour has signalled it will back the plan to stop the UK crashing out of the EU, along with more than a dozen Tory rebels, giving it a real chance of success. 

If the amendment is passed, the Bill will come before Parliament on February 5, and if it becomes law Mrs May will have to ask for an extension by February 26. 

Mrs May has also vowed to try and defeat amendments calling for a permanent customs union, and a further series of indicative votes on what should happen next.

If she succeeds the House will give tacit approval to her strategy of tweaking her Brexit deal and bringing it back for another dramatic vote.  

However, the Government also appears to be encouraging MPs to back an amendment from Tory MP Andrew Murrison that would effectively set a time limit on the backstop of December 31, 2021. 

Some ministers hope that if the Murrison amendment is passed it will pile pressure on the EU to concede an expiry date on the backstop – which Brexiteers fear the UK will be stuck in forever, and the DUP believes risks splitting the union. 

Writing in the Telegraph today, Mr Mercer – a former army officer – complained that the government did not appear to have the ‘minerals for the fight’.

‘I think it’s genuinely dangerous – both blundering into being a junior partner in an international relationship we cannot unilaterally leave – and going against what you have said previously,’ he said. 

‘No British PM could ever do, and treat Northern Ireland differently to the rest of the UK. Trust, leadership, values – we must uphold them to the British people. The deal did not.’

The intervention was praised by a series of Tory Eurosceptics on Twitter.  

Meanwhile, other hardliners raged at the chief of Airbus for pushing ‘super Project Fear’ after he warned the company could quit the UK if there is no deal Brexit.

Conservative MEP David Campbell Bannerman said on Twitter: ‘Here we have a German CEO putting EU interests first before his own employees. A disgrace.’ 

Tory MP Mr Hoare said he still detected signs that opinion was shifting towards Mrs May.

‘I am surprised it has taken so long for the penny to drop, but the penny does appear to be dropping.

‘There is no appetite in Parliament to leave with no deal.

Airbus brands Brexit chaos ‘disgraceful’ and says it could leave Britain there is no deal 

Airbus boss Tom Enders (file) today condemned the 'disgraceful' chaos surrounding Brexit and warned it could leave Britain if a no deal threatened its international competitiveness

Airbus boss Tom Enders (file) today condemned the ‘disgraceful’ chaos surrounding Brexit and warned it could leave Britain if a no deal threatened its international competitiveness

Airbus today condemned the ‘disgraceful’ chaos surrounding Brexit and warned it could leave Britain if a no deal threatened its international competitiveness.

The aerospace giant, which employs 14,000 people in Britain, warned it could have to make ‘potentially very harmful decisions’ about its UK operations in a no deal. 

It warned there were ‘plenty of countries’ that would welcome the firm with open arms if Britain became inhospitable to international companies.

Airbus’s move came as the Dutch government revealed it was in talks with 250 UK firms about luring them to the Netherlands.

Fears are rising about the future of British manufacturing amid wobbles in the car industry and after Dyson announced it was relocating its headquarters to Singapore.  

‘They (Brexiteers) are now understanding that there has got to be a compromise and then the PM’s deal can be supported – or the prize is going to be dashed from their lips at the 11th hour.’

In a much-needed piece of good news for Mrs May, Remainer MPs have dropped their bid to force a parliamentary vote demanding a second referendum – admitting they do not have enough support to get it passed.

The gang of Labour and Tory MPs who were backing a so-called People’s Vote blasted Jeremy Corbyn for killing off their chances of winning. 

Instead Labour has merely proposed a wording that would leave open the option of a referendum after a Brexit deal is passed by the Commons.  

The Lib Dems still have an amendment tabled that would endorse another national vote on Brexit, but it might not be selected by the Speaker as there is limited cross-party support.

Mrs May was reportedly presented with nine ‘scenarios’ for breaking the Parliamentary deadlock by her chief Brexit adviser Oliver Robbins. 

They included getting a unilateral exit mechanism from the backstop, including an end date on it, or the whole UK being in ‘regulatory alignment’ with the EU rather than just Northern Ireland.

The idea of withholding some of the £39billion divorce bill until the UK has signed permanent trade terms with the EU has also reportedly been mooted. 

However, at least three of the options apparently involve reopening the Withdrawal Agreement – something the government and Brussels have previously insisted is not possible.

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier repeated that the divorce package could not be changed yesterday – and also warned that the bloc’s leaders will not sign off an Article 50 extension unless there is a clear majority in Parliament for a way of delivering Brexit.

Conservative former Cabinet minister Sir Oliver Letwin, who is backing moves to delay Brexit, accepted there was ‘an open question’ over whether the other 27 EU member states would agree to grant the UK an extension, but said there had been ‘strong signals’ that they would be ready to do so.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it was ‘possible but unlikely’ that the EU27 would say: ‘We’re not going to give you any more time to do that, you can just jump out of the plane without a parachute and leave without a deal.’

Sir Oliver dismissed as ‘fanciful’ Brexiteers’ suggestions that the Government could prevent an extension of Article 50 by using a procedure known as ‘prorogation’ to shut down Parliament or asking the Queen to withhold royal assent from backbenchers’ bills.

‘These tactics take us back several hundred years to conditions in which the British constitution was originally developed,’ he said.

‘The British constitution is pretty clear. It’s Parliament that is elected to pass laws, and when they are passed they need to be enacted and followed by Government, and Parliament has to be allowed to do that. I don’t think any of these are serious possibilities.’

What is Tuesday’s Plan B vote and what will it mean?

What is happening? 

Because Theresa May’s Brexit deal was defeated, the law says she must tell Parliament what her Plan B is.

This has to be done in a motion to the Commons, which will be voted on by MPs next Tuesday night.

That motion can be re-written by MPs if they table amendments and win a vote in favour of them.

Some amendments have already been tabled and MPs can keep producing them until Monday night.

What does May’s plan say? 

It promises more cross-party working, renews commitments to protecting workers’ rights after Brexit and says the PM will ask Brussels for more concessions on the backstop.

It it based on the current deal that was crushed by 230 votes last week.

What do the main amendments say? 

Jeremy Corbyn’s amendment says Parliament should vote on ‘options’ including a renegotiation of the deal to get a permanent customs union and for a second referendum. 

A cross party amendment from Yvette Cooper and Nicky Morgan seeks to block no deal by giving time to a draft law that would require the Government to delay Brexit if a deal has not been agreed by February 26. It upturns normal convention by putting a backbench MP’s Bill ahead of Government plans. 

An amendment from Tory rebel Dominic Grieve seeks to set up weekly debates that would mean regular votes on what to do in the absence a deal. His amendments sets aside six named days for the debates – including as late as March 26. 

What would the vote do? 

Legally nothing – but if the Commons votes in favour of a clear way forward by a majority it will be a major political signal of what might happen.

Is it a new ‘meaningful vote’ that can approve May’s deal? 

No. At some point, the PM will have to stage a repeat of last week’s vote to get explicit approval from MPs to go ahead with her deal if she wants it to survive. 

He said next week’s vote on the Cooper amendment would be ‘tight’ and its success was not guaranteed even if the Labour frontbench offered its support.

The ex-minister said he would continue to vote for Theresa May’s deal if it was brought back to Parliament. The requirement for an extension of the Article 50 negotiation process beyond the current Brexit date of March 29 would only kick in if no agreement was reached in the Commons by February 26. 

No10 sources played down the option, insisting the PM ‘gets hundreds of bits of advice every week’. 

Mrs May pressed ahead with efforts to forge a consensus today, meeting union leaders including Unite’s Len McCluskey in Downing Street.

But she has still not held discussions with Jeremy Corbyn, who is refusing to meet her until she rules out leaving the EU with no deal. 

Airbus today condemned the ‘disgraceful’ chaos surrounding Brexit and warned it could leave Britain if a no deal threatened its international competitiveness.

The aerospace giant, which employs 14,000 people in Britain, warned it could have to make ‘potentially very harmful decisions’ about its UK operations in a no deal. 

It warned there were ‘plenty of countries’ that would welcome the firm with open arms if Britain became inhospitable to international companies.

Airbus’s move came as the Dutch government revealed it was in talks with 250 UK firms about luring them to the Netherlands.

Fears are rising about the future of British manufacturing amid wobbles in the car industry and after Dyson announced it was relocating its headquarters to Singapore.  

Tory MP Dr Sarah Wollaston had planned to table the ‘doctor’s amendment’ to next Tuesday’s crunch Brexit motion to demand a second referendum.

But stood outside Parliament this morning flanked by pro-EU Labour MPs Luciana Berger and Chuka Umunna, she announced a U-turn.

The shock moves comes after a massive row among Remainer MPs over when to finally show their hand a call a Commons vote on another referendum. 

 

 

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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