Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 17 September 2019

UK Parliament approves law to stop no-deal Brexit on April 12

Prime Minister Theresa May will meet EU leaders to discuss a second extension to Britain's departure date

Anti-Brexit protesters are seen outside the Houses of Parliament, in London, Britain April 8, 2019. REUTERS
Anti-Brexit protesters are seen outside the Houses of Parliament, in London, Britain April 8, 2019. REUTERS

The British Parliament passed a bill on Monday evening to prevent the UK from crashing out of the European Union on Friday with no deal.

The Cooper-Letwin bill was passed in the House of Commons by a single vote last week and was approved in the House of Lords with minor changes, that the lower house had to approve.

On its final reading in the Commons on Monday, the bill passed by 390 votes to 81.

The vote represents a victory for those MPs who want the UK to remain in the EU, as many believe that delaying the departure date further could diminish the likelihood of Brexit happening.

But for hard-line Brexiteers who oppose Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, the delay may provide them with time to strengthen the exit plan.

Mrs May is scheduled to travel to Paris and Berlin on Tuesday to meet French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to discuss a second extension to the Brexit deadline, which is currently April 12.

The original deadline was March 29, but Mrs May has requested an extension until June 30.

The Conservative Party leader is under pressure from the hard-line Brexiteers in her own party after holding discussions about Brexit with Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn last week, with EU leaders to meet on Thursday to decide whether to grant the UK the extension to the deadline.

In an opinion piece for The Telegraph, former foreign minister Boris Johnson said that Mrs May’s plan “to enslave us in a customs union” would not work.

Mr Johnson said that an agreement with “Marxist Jeremy Corbyn” would “make a total and utter nonsense of the referendum result".

“We would be out of the EU but in many ways still run by the EU,” Mr Johnson said.

Some MPs were frustrated that Mrs May paved the way for the UK to take part in Europe’s parliamentary elections next Monday.

On Monday evening, the Conservative Party scrambled to find candidates to run in those elections, with MPs asked to apply by 5pm on Tuesday.

In a video released on Sunday and recorded in her Chequers home, Mrs May said that after failing to convince parliament to agree to her deal on three occasions, she had no choice but to hold discussions with opposition leader Mr Corbyn.

“Over the past few days, people have been asking me what on earth has been happening with Brexit,” she said.

“And I can understand that, because after all it’s been nearly three years since people voted for the UK to leave the European Union."

The laid-back and homely atmosphere of the video is a far cry from previous videos, in which Mrs May addressed Brexit in more formal settings.

Some British newspapers, such as London's Metro, criticised the video for looking too orchestrated.

Earlier on Monday, Mr Corbyn said Mrs May was unwilling to compromise on her red lines during the cross-party talks.

He said that Labour’s main priority was to stop the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

“We don’t want to become, in the longer run, some kind of deregulated country on the shores of Europe that’s undermining the principles of the interventionist economy,” Mr Corbyn said.

Updated: April 9, 2019 09:12 AM

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