Belfast Telegraph

Theresa May: 'Still not enough support for third meaningful vote on Brexit deal'

Theresa May has told MPs there is "still not sufficient support" to bring her Withdrawal Agreement back for a third meaningful vote.

Speaking in the Commons on Monday, Theresa May said reopening the agreement is "simply not an option", but she will continue discussions to find a way forward.

"It is with great regret that I have had to conclude, that as things stand, there is still not sufficient support in the House to bring back the deal for a third meaningful vote," she said.

"I continue to have discussions with colleagues across the House to build support so that we can bring the vote forward this week and guarantee Brexit.

"If not, the Government has made the commitment that we would work across the House to find a majority on the way forward."

The Prime Minister said the "default outcome" remained leaving without a deal.

"The alternative is to pursue a different form of Brexit or a second referendum," she said.

"But the bottom line remains: if the House does not approve the Withdrawal Agreement this week and is not prepared to countenance leaving without a deal, we would have to seek a longer extension."

Tonight, MPs will debate an amendable Government motion, where they will put their favoured Brexit outcomes to a vote.

Seven amendments have been tabled, however it is unlikely all will be selected for debate by Speaker John Bercow.

One amendment tabled by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn calls on the Government to provide parliamentary time to debate a range of Brexit options, including Labour’s own plan, a customs union and a second referendum.

Another is a cross-party amendment tabled by Sir Oliver Letwin, Dominic Grieve and Hilary Benn and signed by 109 MPs.

It would allow Parliament to seize control of the Commons agenda on Wednesday and hold a series of indicative votes to establish whether there is a majority for any Brexit outcome.

Mrs May told the Commons that the Government will oppose Sir Oliver Letwin's amendment to pave the way for indicative votes, but if it fails ministers will provide their own mechanism for them to take place.

Other amendments include one reaffirming support for the result of the referendum and another calling for a second Brexit referendum.

Shortly before Mrs May began addressing the Commons, the European Parliament's Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt tweeted: "Time is running out. A disastrous no-deal #Brexit is more likely than ever.

"It is now up to the UK Parliament to deliver a cross-party majority for a positive future EU-UK relationship. The door of the @Europarl_EN remains open to a closer relationship."

Over the weekend, there were several reports questioning Mrs May's future in No 10, with one backbench MP stating she should set out her plans to resign in order for her to get her Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament.

Mrs May's hopes of winning DUP support for her deal were also dashed on Monday afternoon after a phone call with Arlene Foster failed to alter the DUP's opposition to her Withdrawal Agreement.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he is still confident there will be a Brexit deal, but a no-deal scenario has become more likely.

Speaking to the media in Dublin, Mr Varadkar said the Irish Government has stepped up preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

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