Thursday, 23 May, 2019

EU's Verhofstadt: EU must increase pressure on Britain over Brexit

Currency Market Volatility For USD EUR GBP AUD NZD CAD CHF EU's Verhofstadt: EU must increase pressure on Britain over Brexit
Jean Garcia | 15 March, 2019, 04:55

May's spokesman said the government was still making preparations for a no-deal exit.

Prime Minister Theresa May will now travel to Brussels to try and seek an extension until June 30, but it is understood European Union officials will push for a longer period of time.

The third evening of Brexit votes in the Commons came after MPs rejected Mrs May's Withdrawal Agreement by a 149-vote margin on Tuesday and then inflicted further defeat on the PM on Wednesday by voting to rule out a no-deal outcome.

In another sting for the beleaguered May, US President Donald Trump said he was "surprised at how badly" the Brexit negotiations have been handled. They have an opportunity to grant such a request at a March 21-22 summit in Brussels. The U.K. won't be represented in the European Parliament after it quits the EU; its seats already have been given to other countries to fill in the May election.

The bloc may be open to a long delay, however, to allow Britain to radically change course.

If May's Brexit deal is defeated in a vote next week, the government says lawmakers will get to vote on several different options for Brexit to see if there is a majority for any of them.

European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted that he will appeal to EU leaders "to be open to a long extension if the United Kingdom finds it necessary to rethink its Brexit strategy and build consensus about it".

Mrs May will need to convince Brexit supporters in her Conservative Party, as well as members of the Democratic Unionists party, the small Northern Irish party that props up her minority government in parliament, to back her deal ahead of next week's meaningful vote if a short delay is to be put in place.

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Today Chancellor Philip Hammond hinted that Attorney General Geoffrey Cox could revisit his legal advice on whether Britain would be trapped in the Irish backstop "indefinitely" - unlocking votes for Mrs May's deal.

Trading on Thursday, however, remained relatively calm, the report added.

"It's still really hard to see how the numbers stack up for Theresa May, but she's giving it one more go", he said.

And anti-Brexit campaigners haven't abandoned the idea of a new referendum on remaining in the EU.

Some 127 leave-supporting Members of Parliament backed Amendment B, tabled by Conservative Lee Rowley, which sought to add to the motion to be voted on Thursday night that "the result of the 2016 European Union referendum should be respected and that a second European Union referendum would be divisive and expensive, and therefore should not take place".

However, the political calculus could change if the paralysis drags on.

After the votes, however, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed the House, reiterating his support for another referendum.

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