Sputnik has spoken with David Lindsay, political commentator, and journalist about the latest developments.
Sputnik: Theresa May has avoided a humiliating defeat over the Brexit bill after Conservative rebels accepted significant concessions from the government on the “meaningful vote”… How significant is this for the prime minister and Brexit negotiations? Will she stick to her promises?
David Lindsay: Well, that depends what you think the promises are. The things she is claiming to have said really cannot possibly be the whole story. These are people who were expected to vote against the government last night, within the Conservative Party, who are extremely pro-EU, who would go to the stake rather than accept withdrawal from the customs union and the single market; demanding a second referendum in which an option on the ballot paper would be to remain in the EU. They did not suddenly change their minds based purely on a promise that there would be a parliamentary statement of which they would be able to ask questions — that would have happened anyway. They [the Tory rebels] have been promised far more than that behind-the-scenes. There is no way that cannot be the case if they were to change their votes last night.
Sputnik: On top of the debates going on in Parliament, Michel Barnier, has stated that the UK can continue frictionless trade if Britain stays within the EEA… Is this likely do you think following on from the ongoing debates in Parliament?
Sputnik: Whilst the majority of the mainstream media has been looking at talks in the Commons and responses made by Brussels, the Scottish government yesterday said says its wants changes to the devolution settlement following the failure to reach a deal over the EU Withdrawal Bill. Will these concessions be delivered to Scotland and if so what effect will this have on Brexit?
David Lindsay: It will not be delivered to Scotland, in terms of what I think is going to happen. Those concessions will not be delivered because the British government, any British government, simply does not accept that relations with the EU are any business of the Scottish government or the Scottish parliament, so that is not going to happen. What effect will that have on Brexit? Very little, however the effect that will have in Scotland will be very different if there were to be a second referendum that I don’t think would pass; but this will greatly increase the pressure on a second referendum for independence.
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