Theresa May's Historic Humiliation: British PM Loses Three Brexit Votes in One Hour

World » EU | December 5, 2018, Wednesday // 09:36| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: Theresa May's Historic Humiliation: British PM Loses Three Brexit Votes in One Hour twitter/Theresa May

British Prime Minister Theresa May suffered humiliation on a historic scale Tuesday as her government became the first to be found in contempt of Parliament, according to National Post.com

May lost three Brexit-related votes in the space of barely an hour, making her the first British prime minister in 40 years to be defeated three times in one day. She was forced to bow to the will of Parliament by agreeing to publish her attorney general’s full legal advice on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, after Labour won a vote demanding it. An attempt by May’s government to postpone that vote was rejected by lawmakers.

The premier then lost a third big vote that could prove even more significant: it gives Parliament the power to shape the final Brexit settlement if, as expected, May fails to get her deal approved in the Commons in a vote on Dec. 11.

Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general, led a successful plot by 25 Tory rebels to give MPs the right to dictate a “Plan B” to May if she loses the Brexit deal vote.

May, who introduced the first of five days of debate on the Brexit deal moments after losing the third vote, is now fighting to save not just her deal but her administration.

Pleading with MPs for their backing, she told them: “I have spent nearly two years negotiating this deal. I have lost valued colleagues along the way and faced fierce criticism from all sides.

“If I had banged the table, walked out of the room and at the end of the process delivered the very same deal… some might say I had done a better job.

“But I didn’t play to the gallery, I focused on getting a deal that honours the referendum and sets us on course for a bright future — and I did so through painstaking hard work.”

She also told the Commons: “We should not let the search for a perfect Brexit prevent a good Brexit that delivers for the British people.”

There was little sympathy for her from colleagues, however, who lined up to criticize her deal. Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary, described it as a “national humiliation” and said her deal was “not Brexit”.

“It’s a feeble simulacrum of national independence. It is a paint and plaster pseudo Brexit and below the camouflage we find the same old EU institutions,” he said.

Separately, Mervyn King, the former governor of the Bank of England, accused May’s government of “incompetence of a high order” for negotiating a deal that is “the worst of all worlds”.

The government had defied a motion passed last month calling on it to publish the full legal advice given to the Cabinet on the Brexit deal by Geoffrey Cox, the attorney general, instead publishing a “legal position” on Monday. The government was held in contempt for its failure to publish the full document, losing a vote on the matter by 311 to 293.

Andrea Leadsom, the Leader of the House, said the government would “respond” to the vote Wednesday, which was interpreted to mean that the full legal advice would be published, but Downing Street later said responding was not the same as publishing and so the document could be briefly delayed.

John Bercow, the Speaker of the House, made it clear that the legal advice must be published before the vote on the Brexit deal on Dec 11.

The amendment by Grieve to give Parliament more power over the Brexit process could open the way for a second referendum. Grieve has been a major voice in the campaign for a second referendum.

“No longer must the will of Parliament — reflecting the will of the people — be diminished,” Grieve said in a statement issued by the People’s Vote campaign. “Parliament must now take back control and then give the final decision back to the public because, in the end, only the people can sort this out.

 

Politicians on both sides of Britain’s EU membership debate oppose the agreement — pro-Brexit legislators because it keeps Britain bound closely to the EU, and pro-EU politicians because it erects barriers between the U.K. and its biggest trading partner.

“The numbers in the Houses of Parliament look pretty formidable for Theresa May,” said Alan Wager, a research associate at the U.K. Changing Europe think-tank. “Over 100 Conservative MPs have said they are not going to back the deal, the Labour Party have said they are not going to back the deal. So it looks like the deal won’t pass next week.”

Meanwhile, a top official at the European Union’s highest court advised Tuesday that Britain can change its mind about leaving the EU, boosting hopes among pro-EU campaigners in the U.K. that Brexit can be stopped.

Advocate General Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona told the European Court of Justice that a British decision to revoke the countdown to departure would be legally valid.

A group of Scottish legislators asked the courts to rule on whether the U.K. can pull out of the withdrawal procedure on its own.

The advice of the advocate general is often, but not always, followed by the full court. The final verdict is expected within weeks

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Tags: theresa may, Brexit, U.K, EU, parliament, vote
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