News Analysis: British PM faces possible defeat in crunch Brexit vote with no progress in EU talks

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-12 02:29:31|Editor: yan
Video PlayerClose


Demonstrators stand outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, March 11, 2019. British Prime Minister Theresa May is likely to face another Brexit vote defeat in the parliament on Tuesday amid her failure to find a breakthrough in talks with the European Union (EU). (Xinhua/Joe Newman)

by Xinhua writer Gu Zhenqiu

LONDON, March 11 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister Theresa May is likely to face another Brexit vote defeat in the parliament on Tuesday amid her failure to find a breakthrough in talks with the European Union (EU).

Downing Street on Monday admitted that talks with the EU are in "deadlock," thus reducing the prime minister's options on Brexit.

The prime minister is fighting to save her Brexit deal while she was not able to report any progress in the Brexit talks with the EU. There are speculations here that the Tuesday vote could be postponed or downgraded, but Downing Street said that the vote will go ahead as planned. The British government is expected to publish its own motions later Monday.

Almost all sides are piling pressure on the prime minister at a time when the EU said that there would be no more high-level backstop talks and senior MPs began preparing to strip the prime minister of key Brexit decisions.

Brexiteers in the parliament hardened their position that the withdrawal agreement will suffer an "inevitable" heavy defeat without binding changes that would allow Britain to end the backstop in future.

It is known to all that only major compromise from the EU can help the prime minister in her painstaking efforts to ensure her victory in the crunch parliamentary vote.

The Brussels-based European Commission said it was offering nothing more to help the prime minister.

Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, but MPs rejected May's withdrawal deal in January and demanded major changes. So far, May has failed to secure significant concessions from Brussels.

Some senior Conservative MPs urged the prime minister to postpone the Tuesday vote with no major compromises from the EU.

In late February, May pledged to hold another meaningful vote by Tuesday, and if that fails, MPs will be given a chance to decide both on pursuing a no-deal Brexit and an extension of Article 50.

The prime minister has reportedly no plan for her last-minute travel on Monday to Brussels, less than 24 hours before the vote in the House of Commons on the deal.

However, Down Street said that May was ready to fly to Brussels to agree a revised deal with President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

In other words, she will kick off the Brussels trip with a condition: if sufficient concessions can be negotiated, according to British media. But the current development suggests that such a condition is not available at this stage against the unyielding EU.

Under the circumstances, the prime minister faced mounting pressure to quit as Tory Eurosceptic rebels asked May to announce her plans to resign to win the support of Conservative Brexiteers.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned Eurosceptics that failing to back May's deal meant there was "a risk and a possibility that we end up losing Brexit in the next couple of weeks."

One more pressure is from Brussels, which is preparing to charge Britain billions of pounds and impose a number of other punitive conditions as its price for agreeing a Brexit delay.

With no signs of a breakthrough in the Brexit negotiations, the House of Commons is expected to reject the Brexit deal for a second time on Tuesday.

In January, May has sustained the heaviest parliamentary defeat of any British prime minister in the modern era after MPs rejected her Brexit deal by a resounding majority of 230.

If May's deal is voted down on Tuesday in the parliament, she then faces a possible defeat on a second vote on Wednesday to prevent a no-deal Brexit on March 29, and a third vote on Thursday to extend the Article 50 divorce process, likely until the end of June.

However, there was also uncertainty about the status of the next two binding parliamentary votes promised by the prime minister if her deal was rejected on Tuesday. It was unclear if the votes would go ahead this week or even if the prime minister would try to whip Tories one way or the other.

   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next