Northern Labour voters back second Brexit referendum, poll finds

06 March, 2019, 08:26 | Author: Kevin Carter
  • Theresa May

Parliament rejected May's deal in January, largely because of concerns about the so-called backstop, which is created to prevent the need for physical border checks along the Irish border if negotiators fail to agree on a free-trade deal.

"We have organised large-scale protests on the border itself which has helped give a voice to local people who are very frustrated and feel disenfranchised by the Brexit process", he said.

The group wants a legally binding, treaty level arrangement, the language must not just simply reiterate the temporary nature of the backstop, and there "needs to be a clear and unconditional route out" of the arrangement.

"The second part is the language".

Mrs May lost the previous vote on her Brexit proposals by a record majority of 230, leaving Mr Smith with the daunting task of persuading more than 100 Tory MPs to change their minds and rally behind her plans.

If they reject the deal, MPs will have a vote on whether to leave without a deal, and then on whether to delay Brexit, probably by a few months until the end of June.

Other senior Tories say that while May still faces an uphill struggle to win over numerous most hardline Tory opponents of her deal - and the 10 Ulster Unionists - many others who helped inflict the 230-vote defeat in January are now looking for ways to back down and support it. On Sunday, Trade Secretary Liam Fox welcomed the ERG's new stance as a "genuine attempt to map out common ground" with May, though there is skepticism that the European Union would agree to any of the concessions.

The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said on Friday that the bloc was ready to give Britain more guarantees that the backstop was only meant to be temporary and used for a "worst-case scenario".

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Meanwhile, senior Conservative backbencher Sir Graham Brady indicated a breakthrough could be on the cards.

"Once we have that, my colleagues in Parliament need to recognise the strength of feeling".

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Sir Graham said: "The whole country is exhausted of vacillation and delay".

With MPs due to vote on the PM's deal again by 12 March, ministers have offered the following commitments.

The group also wants attorney general Geoffrey Cox to rewrite official legal advice that says the backstop would "endure indefinitely" if no other way is found to keep a soft border in Ireland.

But Brussels is said to be resisting demands for an "independent" arbitration panel, outside the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

She has promised MPs another vote on her deal by 12 March - and if that fails, she says MPs will get a vote on whether the United Kingdom should leave without a deal, and then, by 14 March, a vote on whether Brexit should be postponed for a short period. "Yet it is a fact that some people felt that the rights of workers would not be adequately addressed, so as part of the withdrawal agreement bill we will ensure parliament is given a vote on the action government will take in response to changes to European Union legislation on workers' rights".

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