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May ducks the Meaningful Vote

11 December 2018

Facing the almost certain defeat of her Brexit deal, Theresa May decided to defer the vote and go back to Brussels.

The British Prime Minister will attempt to draw further assurances about the temporality of the so-called Irish backstop to win over MPs back home.

The European Perspective

According to Sky, The embattled Prime Minister is meeting the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in the Hague before talks with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

The BBC reports she is also meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk, and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Yet, as SZ duly note, Mr Tusk himself has ruled out any possibility of re-opening the negotiation, echoing comments made by Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Mr Tusk said on Twitter: "I have decided to call #EUCO on #Brexit (Art. 50) on Thursday. We will not renegotiate the deal, including the backstop, but we are ready to discuss how to facilitate UK ratification. As time is running out, we will also discuss our preparedness for a no-deal scenario." However, EU Diplomats told SZ that, while the negotiation is likely closed, "The political explanation could still be adjusted."

The Opposition Backlash

The unprecedented move to delay the vote, following three full days of Parliamentary debate, has left the UK's exit from the EU in "disarray", as reported in the WSJ.

As RTE indicate, opposition leaders have sent a joint letter to the Prime Minister expressing their concern about her pulling of the vote. The letter was signed by Jeremy Corbyn, Ian Blackford, Vince Cable, Liz Saville-Roberts and Caroline Lucas.

Leadership Contest?

However, it is not merely the opposition that have criticised the move, as highlighted by the BBC. Leading Conservative Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg said Mrs May lacked the "gumption" to put her "undeliverable" deal before MPs. He is trying to get enough Tory MPs to submit letters of no confidence in the PM to trigger a leadership contest.

The Times reported that Crispin Blunt MP became the 26th MP to do so on Monday. Neither Downing Street nor the Conservative Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom would say when the delayed vote would take place, but it is likely to be in January now.

DeHavilland will be producing an updated briefing on what could happen next later today.

Mike Indian, Political Consultant
Mike Indian
Political Consultant

Mike Indian is Political Consultant and a member of DeHavilland’s Content team, leading on infrastructure and Scottish affairs. He leads on DeHavilland's dynamic content, specifically videos and podcasts, and regularly appears in the media as a political commentator. A graduate of Lancaster University, he has worked as a freelance journalist.