The government approach to settling a Brexit deal has changed, Theresa May announced on Monday, following a week of defeat in the Parliament and subsequent set of meetings with both British and European officials in attempt to propel Brexit talks.
No Deal & Second Referendum
The Prime Minister said that the only two ways to avoid a no-deal Brexit is striking an agreement with the EU bloc or revoke Article 50, which would mean Britain remains part of the union. Extending Article 50 would not secure avoidance of a no-deal exit, May added.
Overall, in her speech May didn't commit to promises of a no-deal on Monday.
In her statement, the PM also added that the option of a 2nd referendum won't be supported by the majority of the House of Commons lawmakers. Accepting a second referendum will damage the union and social cohesion, May argued.
Ruling out a no-deal Brexit would be a "crazy move," according to the political campaigner Mandy Boylett, who told Sputnik:
"If anybody who has ever done any negotiations at all knows, you can't take your best card off the table… You can't take your most powerful card off the table and indeed if there isn't a deal, which it looks as if there won't be a deal, the default position is that we leave with no deal. That is what all of parliament voted for nearly two years ago."
On Monday, the Work and Pensions Minister Amber Rudd has been reported to warn that if Conservative MPs are banned from voting for a plan that helps stop a no-deal Brexit, Theresa May's government "could face dozens of ministerial resignations next week."
On the highly contested matter of the Irish backstop, Theresa May said that she will hold further discussions with Northern Ireland's DUP and others negotiators about their concerns.
Many across the House see the Irish backstop — which envisages that all of the UK would remain in a temporary customs union with the EU until a permanent trade deal can be clinched — as a red line, which if kept as part of the deal, will inevitably lead to rejections by lawmakers.
May said she will take the conclusions of Irish backstop discussions back to the EU.
DUP @NigelDoddsDUP says PM needs to get "legal changes to the withdrawal agreement ".— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) January 21, 2019
Still unclear how she gets EU27 to agree.
According to Mandy Boylett, Theresa May will waste her time, as the EU27 won't accept any changes to the backstop agreement.
"Even if Theresa May gets the backstop removed I still think her deal is a very bad deal. I think she would be better off making arrangements for a no deal and once we've left. Then we can start negotiating things such as the free trade deal. But we actually have to leave because there isn't much time left and there isn't time to do what she [May] wants."
Rights of EU Citizens
May discussed the rights of the EU citizens in the UK after Brexit and confirmed that the government will waive the application fee (£65) so there is no financial barrier for EU nationals who wish to stay in the country.
Those who have and will pay the fee during the pilot phase of the application process will have their expense reimbursed, the PM added.
The leader of the opposition, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn, responded to May's statement, saying the PM is in denial and must change her red lines in order to pedal the negotiations forward.
The PM's invitations to talks have been exposed as a PR sham. Every opposition party politician came out of those meetings with the same response: there was no flexibility, there were no negotiations, nothing had changed — @jeremycorbyn responds to Brexit statement in the House.— Labour Press Team (@labourpress) January 21, 2019
What makes the Prime Minister think that what she tried to renegotiate on the backstop in December will succeed in January? This feels like groundhog day — @jeremycorbyn— Labour Press Team (@labourpress) January 21, 2019
Before they had the opportunity to speak during the House session, a number of MPs took to social media to respond to the PM's statement.
.@theresa_may Also announces that there will be confidential committee sessions to keep MPs updated during negotiations — similar to those used by EU Commission to update MEPs during their trade deal negotiations— Vicky Ford MP (@vickyford) January 21, 2019
& gov to engage with businesses, civil society and trade unions
Other than her tone being slightly more subdued, there is no tangible change being offered by the PM. It's as though last week's gargantuan defeat never happened. And hard to conclude that her aim is to do anything other than run down the clock.— Owen Smith (@OwenSmith_MP) January 21, 2019
PM confirms no deal remains on table, article 50 won't be extended and rules out a second referendum. Instead we need to focus on dealing with backstop to secure Parliamentary support. #constructive #wayforward— Liz Truss (@trussliz) January 21, 2019
It's like last week's vote never happened. Plan B is Plan A— Sarah Wollaston MP (@sarahwollaston) January 21, 2019
Very much welcome news that settled status fees are to be scrapped — something @the3million, @scotgov, @theSNP & many others have been pursuing for months. Lots of other issues remain — appeal rights, the unnecessary deadline, no physical document etc etc so still lots to do…— Stuart McDonald MP (@Stuart_McDonald) January 21, 2019
📣 @IanBlackfordMP: "We did not vote for Brexit. We will not be dragged out of Europe by a Tory government we did not vote for.— The SNP (@theSNP) January 21, 2019
We might not be able to save the UK, but we can save Scotland.
We have an escape route from the chaos of Brexit — an independent Scotland."
MPs are due to vote on a Brexit proposal presented by the government on 29 January.
The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.