Labour to push for 'meaningful vote' on Brexit deal

DUP leader Arlene Foster

Prime Minister Theresa May is set to ask MPs for more time to negotiate changes to the Irish border backstop with European Union leaders.

While 49 percent of those surveyed believe that a no-deal Brexit will result in an economic catastrophe for the country, 33 percent would back it.

Housing minister James Brokenshire said on Sunday May would commit to giving parliament another debate on Brexit with the chance to vote on alternative options, if a deal had not yet been agreed and voted upon by then.

The EU and the Irish Government have insisted that the backstop is the best way of guaranteeing there will be no hard border in Ireland. Both London and Brussels are therefore concerned over the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. The new pledge would be for a repeat of this process by February 27.

Challenged on whether there would be a vote on the deal this month, rather than on another series of amendments, he said: "If the meaningful vote has not happened, so in other words things have not concluded, then Parliament would have that further opportunity by no later than 27 February".

He acknowledged that more work was needed to get the United Kingdom ready for Brexit on March 29, telling the BBC's Andrew Marr Show there are "still steps that are currently being put in place" but "there is steady work that is going on, 10,000 civil servants that are now focused on this" and the Border Force was "ramping up" its staff.

Carolyn Fairbairn of business group the Confederation of British Industry said failure to secure a deal in good time was "negligence on behalf of our political institutions and leaders".

He accused May of "pretending to make progress" over issues such as the Irish border so she could "run down the clock" to force MPs to choose between her deal and no deal. "There needs to be a day when Parliament says that's it, enough is enough".

The demands include a permanent customs union, which the Labour leader claims will avoid a hard border, and closer alignment with the EU single market.

We are abundantly clear: Labour has to stop abdicating its responsibility, admit that Brexit will wreck the economy and jobs across the country, and respect Scotland's interest.

Earlier today, Treasury Chief Secretary Liz Truss refused to rule out quitting if May shifted to a position of backing a customs union in order to get a deal through parliament. "And that's what we want to do this week".

Asked by Sky News if she could stay in office if that became government policy, Tuss said: "I absolutely do not think that should be our policy".

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