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Analysis

Nothing has changed – except PM is wasting precious 2 weeks

by Hugo Dixon | 30.01.2019

Nothing has changed – except that the prime minister has wasted another precious two weeks. She scraped together a majority last night by promising a fantasy Brexit.

Theresa May knew even before she promised to reopen the withdrawal agreement and secure “significant and legally binding changes” to the notorious “backstop” that the EU would reject her pleas. Within minutes of the debate ending, the EU said: “The backstop is part of the withdrawal agreement and the withdrawal agreement is not open for re-negotiation.”

Jeremy Corbyn’s agreement to hold talks with May will also come to nothing. The Labour leader doesn’t have a coherent Brexit plan any more than the prime minister does – and if she entertained his fantasies, she’d split her Conservative party.

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The prime minister also promised yesterday to make a statement to MPs no later than February 13 – and put it to the vote the following day. If she proposes the same deal that MPs rejected two weeks ago, perhaps with a few tweaks, the hardline Brexiters and the DUP who supported her last night will be up in arms. But if she has nothing concrete to offer, MPs who don’t want to crash out of the EU with no deal will be dismayed.

The Commons voted against “no deal” last night when it backed Caroline Spelman’s amendment. There were many more MPs, including ministers such as Amber Rudd, who didn’t support Spelman because the prime minister promised they’d have another chance to do so by Valentine’s Day.

For the same reason, many MPs didn’t support amendments proposed by Dominic Grieve and Yvette Cooper. This was a shame but not a cause for hand-wringing, as I explained in this column for InFacts last night.

Because the prime minister has merely kicked the can for two weeks, a People’s Vote is still game on. When all forms of Brexit have been tried and found wanting, it will be the only sensible way forward.

Edited by Luke Lythgoe

3 Responses to “Nothing has changed – except PM is wasting precious 2 weeks”

  • Mendacity May = Mala fides. The duplicitous, dishonest, deceitful. mendacious & incompetent spivs and chancers who claim to be the Govt of this country have no word, no honour, no integrity. They negotiate in bad faith and no country will want to deal with a crooked bunch of liars who are constantly seeking to renege on their international obligations. Fat Boris seems the ideal PM for the banana State (straight or bent) that the UK is rapidly turning into.

    Jeremy, you chocolate teapot, you are complicit in this brexit fiasco. Mendacity May lies to the Queen, to Parliament, do you really think that some promises on workers rights are ever going to be adhered to, especially when she’s replaced by the likes of Raabid brexit? Such promises have as much chance of being kept as the treaties signed by the 19th cen. US Congress with the Native Americans. Your presence is simply giving the Tories an even chance of winning the next general election. For the sake of the country, step down.

    Independence for Gibraltar!

  • I am sorry but to me it looks like May has kicked the can one more time and will do it again. In the end ERG or the opposition will not have enough votes to sink May’s deal and Labour/Corbyn will emerged as helplessly irrelevant.
    Good for us in the EU27.

  • The ERG group has only one objective , to remove the UK from the EU. I believe that if they have to, they will accept whatever deal Mrs May comes up with just so long as the UK leaves the EU. They will compromise on all other issues just to secure that aim, no doubt believing that over time the will be able to get rid of any ties with the EU that Mrs May agreed to.