Stormont EU veto power plans to be published by government

09 Janvier, 2019, 23:57 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • The devolved institutions at Stormont have been suspended since former deputy first minister Martin Mc Guinness resigned two years ago

British Prime Minister Theresa May is desperately seeking to build support for her Brexit deal ahead of a Westminster vote on the Withdrawal Agreement next week.

Opposition to May's deal is spread across the political spectrum, including sections of her own ruling Conservative Party and the 10 Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MPs her government relies on to command a majority in parliament.

May postponed the vote last month because of intense opposition from MPs, promising further clarifications from Brussels.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn stated that the vote "shows that there is no majority in parliament, the cabinet or the country for crashing out of the European Union without an agreement".

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She asked him to publish Sir David's advice, prompting cheers from Tory MPs following last month's row over the government's Brexit legal advice.

She said it would be unacceptable to hand the DUP a "veto" on backstop arrangements.

"When I go to Belfast or Londonderry/Derry, what I get from people in Northern Ireland and from the business community and education leaders and others, is: "We want our devolved institutions back again because we want a voice for Northern Ireland and we want to see both communities in Northern Ireland represented in those power-sharing institutions". "The only way to avoid no deal is to vote for the deal", came the inevitable reply from May.

Amid the stalemate, pro-Brexit members of Parliament are urging the government to ramp up preparations for leaving the European Union without a deal.

"I don't think the British public are served by fantasies about magical, alternative deals that are somehow going to spring out of a cupboard in Brussels", Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington told BBC radio.

Sinn Féin negotiator Conor Murphy
Sinn Féin negotiator Conor Murphy

Following Prime Minister's Questions, the Speaker defended his decision, saying: "It is the long, established practice of this House that the Speaker in this chair makes judgements upon the selection of amendments and those judgements are not questioned by members of the House".

The blow to the Prime Minister came less than a day after Conservative rebels defied the orders of their party to push through an amendment created to frustrate a no-deal Brexit.

"The majority of people of the north voted to reject Brexit".

Mr Varadkar said he was supportive of an amendment proposed in the House of Commons today that would give the Uk parliament a chance to vote on triggering the backstop or extending the transition period if a trade deal has not been reached by 2020.

But Commons Speaker John Bercow sparked fury from Tory MPs by allowing the plan to be put to a vote, which the government subsequently lost by 308 votes to 297, majority 11.

May was due to meet Conservative MPs over private drinks this week to try to sway waverers, and one minister insisted the vote next week could still be won.

But it drew criticism for only involving 89 trucks and haulage companies dismissed it as "too little too late".

The government previously had 21 days to report back to Parliament.

The meeting came as the United Kingdom government published plans for the Northern Ireland assembly to have a say on whether to enter the backstop or extend the transition period should a trade deal not be ready. Nigel Dodds, the party's deputy leader, described it as "cosmetic and meaningless".

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