06:25 GMT +319 August 2019
Listen Live
    Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street on her way to Parliament to offer MPs a vote on whether to leave the EU without a deal

    May Offers UK MPs Chance to Vote On Delaying Brexit or Leaving With No Deal

    © AP Photo /
    Get short URL

    Britain is due to crash out of the European Union on 29 March and despite two years of negotiations the UK government have yet to reach a deal which satisfies Parliament.

    On Tuesday, 26 February, the British Prime Minister Theresa May announced she would offer MPs the chance to vote for either a no-deal Brexit or a delay to the UK departing the EU.

    Her statement came as three Remainer ministers in her Cabinet, including former Home Secretary Amber Rudd, threatened to revolt.

    She has said there will be a meaningful vote on her Brexit deal by 12 March.

    Mrs May has committed that if her deal fails then there would be a vote on 13 March on whether to leave without a deal and if that is rejected then there would be a vote on 14 March on extending Article 50.

    "We will only leave without a deal on 29 March if there is explicit consent in the House for that outcome", Mrs. May told MPs.

    She said she did not want to see Article 50 extended, because she believed "it would not make getting a deal any easier."

    Labour Had Just Shifted its Position

    ​It comes after the opposition Labour Party shifted their position on Monday and pledged to hold a second  referendum rather than approve a no-deal Brexit.

    The Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer said Labour would attempt to get its own Brexit proposals through Parliament on Wednesday, 27 February.

    He said if that failed the party would back another referendum.

    ​"We specifically agreed yesterday, as the Labour Party, that if the prime minister's deal gets through, that deal should be subject to the lock, if you like, of a public vote in the way that Jeremy (Corbyn) spelled out yesterday," Starmer told the BBC on Tuesday morning.

    Around 30 Labour MPs in constituencies which voted strongly in favour of Brexit are believed to be opposed to holding a second referendum. They include Caroline Flint, a former minister under Gordon Brown.

    "We can't ignore millions of Labour 'leave' voters," Flint said on Tuesday.

    Only hours after Labour came up with their new policy, Mrs. May outmanouevred them by offering the votes next month.

    ​But she did not do so from a position of strength.

    Theresa May's Hand Forced by Remainer Rebels

    Her hand is believed to have been forced by Cabinet ministers Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark, who wrote a joint article in the Daily Mail saying they were in favour of extending Article 50.     

    "Let me be clear, I do not want to see Article 50 extended. Our absolute focus should be on working to get a deal and leaving on 29 March. An extension beyond the end of June would mean the UK taking part in the European Parliament elections. What kind of message would that send to the more than 17 million people who voted to leave the EU nearly three years ago now? And the House should be clear that a short extension — not beyond the end of June — would almost certainly have to be a one-off," Mrs May told Parliament.

    "We will hold a second meaningful vote by Tuesday 12 March at the latest. Second, if the government has not won a meaningful vote by Tuesday 12 March, then it will…table a motion to be voted on by Wednesday 13 March at the latest, asking this House if it supports leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement and a framework for a future relationship on 29 March," said Mrs. May.    

    There were glum looks on the faces of supporters of a hard Brexit, such as Bill Cash, the 78-year-old Conservative MP for Stone in Staffordshire.

    If Mrs. May were to lose her meaningful vote on 12 March then it would be up to the Prime Minister to decide whether to tell Conservative MPs which way to vote on no-deal Brexit and, if it comes to it on extending Article 50, or she may decide to give a free vote.



    vote, Brexit, European Union, Theresa May, United Kingdom
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik