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Brexit Secretary: Crunch commons vote to go ahead amid criticism and protests

13 December 2018

British Prime Minister Theresa May has postponed Tuesday's vote on Brexit deal after holding an emergency conference call with her Cabinet on Tuesday, the country's media reported.

Speaking during a visit to Brussels, Hunt said he believed this really was the EU's "best and final offer" and argued it "delivers on the vast majority of what people voted for" in the 2016 referendum.

Steve Baker, one of the leaders of the Conservative hard Brexit European Research Group, said the postponement was "essentially a defeat" of May's Brexit deal.

In a stinging statement Monday to the House of Commons, May reminded lawmakers that any Brexit deal would require compromise.

The Prime Minister has always strongly rejected such consultation, but the idea has gained ground recently in the face of resistance to her exit plan from the EU.

"We will therefore defer the vote scheduled for tomorrow and not proceed to divide the House at this time", she said, adding that the government would step up planning for a no-deal Brexit.

The pound dropped sharply against the euro and the dollar after Bloomberg and the BBC cited sources as saying May would pull the vote.

Among the problems with the deal mentioned in the summary of the report are the backstop - the mechanism created to ensure there is no return to a hard border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland, which is the part of the deal that has been severely criticized by lawmakers.

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Lawmakers from all sides of the political spectrum criticized the backstop because the United Kingdom couldn't leave the arrangement without the EU's consent, giving European negotiators leverage to demand future concessions. That will all give investors clues as to whether a "no-deal" Brexit becomes more or less likely. Whichever option she chooses, analysts say May's government is weakened - perhaps fatally.

The main sticking point is a "backstop" provision in the Brexit agreement that aims to guarantee an open border between European Union member Ireland and the U.K.'s Northern Ireland post-Brexit. European Union leaders insist the 585-page withdrawal agreement can't be renegotiated, but the declaration on future relations is shorter and subject to future negotiations so amendments may be possible.

The prime minister's comments came as her government was hit by another resignation over the Brexit plan.

May has been trying to win over critics of an agreement that would keep close economic ties with the European Union when Britain leaves in March, but her warnings; that it's her deal, no deal or no Brexit have fallen flat so far.

"The deal we achieved is the best possible".

The European Court of Justice ruled that when an EU member country has notified its intent to leave, "that member state is free to revoke unilaterally that notification".

"Overwhelmingly, the message I've heard is that people want us to get on with it".

Corbyn's party is hoping that failure in parliament on Tuesday will trigger a broader revolt that leads to early elections and returns Labour to power for the first time since 2010.

Brexit Secretary: Crunch commons vote to go ahead amid criticism and protests