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Factbox: Brexit – What will happen in the British parliament on February 14?

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, February 11th, 2019

British and EU flags flutter outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – The British parliament is set to hold a debate on Brexit on Feb. 14 but this is not a re-run of a vote last month on whether to approve the exit deal Prime Minister Theresa May’s negotiated with the European Union.

May is seeking changes to her deal with Brussels after it was rejected by a record majority in parliament on Jan. 15. She has said she wants to bring a revised deal back to parliament for a vote “as soon as possible” but has not yet set a date for doing so.

She has promised that, if she has not brought her deal back for a so-called “meaningful vote” by Feb. 13, lawmakers will get to debate Brexit on Feb. 14.

Below is what will happen on that day:

WHAT WILL THEY DEBATE?

May will make a statement to parliament on Feb. 13 updating lawmakers on her progress so far in seeking changes to her deal.

The debate on Feb. 14 will be on a motion — a proposal put forward for debate — about Brexit more generally. The previous similar debate on Jan. 29 was on a motion which simply asked lawmakers to agree that they had considered May’s latest statement on the Brexit negotiations.

CAN LAWMAKERS PROPOSE CHANGES?

Yes. As with the Jan. 29 debate, lawmakers will be able to propose changes, known as amendments. It is likely that many amendments similar to those debated on Jan. 29 will be proposed, including attempts to shift control of the process away from government and give parliament a chance to define Brexit.

As with Jan. 29, if these are successful they could have a profound effect, giving lawmakers who want to block, delay or renegotiate Brexit a possible legal route to do so.

With the EU saying so far that they are not willing to reopen talks on the Withdrawal Agreement, other lawmakers are likely to propose alternatives to May’s deal to gauge support for them and persuade the prime minister to change course by seeking closer EU ties or holding a second referendum.

An attempt by Labour lawmaker Yvette Cooper and Conservative Nick Boles to give parliament the power to request a delay to Britain’s March 29 exit was defeated by lawmakers on Jan. 29, but Boles said he would renew that effort on Feb. 14 if a deal has not been passed by then.

The government persuaded many lawmakers not to support that previous attempt by promising them that it would not be their last chance to seek to stop a ‘no-deal’ departure from the EU as they would get to debate Brexit again on Feb. 14.

On Wednesday, a Conservative lawmaker involved in discussions with the government about changes to the deal said that if May could demonstrate that the EU was willing to renegotiate, she would buy herself some more time and avoid a potential flashpoint in parliament on Feb. 14.

WILL THERE BE VOTES?

The Speaker, John Bercow, will decide whether to select any of the amendments for a vote. Lawmakers will vote on each of the selected amendments one by one, before voting to give final approval to the wording of the motion itself.

Before the debate begins, lawmakers will have to agree to the proposed timetable for the debate, currently just one day. If lawmakers believe that more than one day is needed, the votes could in theory be pushed into the following week.

WILL IT DEFINITELY GO AHEAD?

If May succeeds in winning changes to her Brexit deal in the next few days she could bring it back for a debate and vote before Feb. 14, and this more general debate would not go ahead. However she is not expected to secure any changes before then.

British media have reported a fresh vote on May’s deal is most likely to happen in the week of Feb. 25 at the earliest.

The government will give parliament another chance to debate the issue by Feb. 27 using the same format described above, if a deal has not been agreed before then.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Gareth Jones

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Donald Trump arrives in Britain for state visit laden with diplomatic peril

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump and Queen Elizabeth | Courtesy : Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Britain on Monday (June 3) for a state visit laden with diplomatic peril, after humiliating outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May over Brexit and demanding she be tougher in dealing with China’s Huawei.

Trump and his wife, Melania, who landed at London’s Stansted airport on Monday morning, will be treated to a display of British royal pageantry during the three-day visit: lunch with Queen Elizabeth, tea with heir Prince Charles, a banquet at Buckingham Palace and a tour of Westminster Abbey, coronation church of English monarchs for 1,000 years.

On Wednesday (June 5), Trump will join the queen and veterans to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in the southern English city of Portsmouth, before travelling to Ireland. He will then attend official D-Day ceremonies in France on Thursday (June 6).

Beyond the pomp, though, the proudly unpredictable 45th U.S. president also brings demands: He has praised a more radical Brexit-supporting potential successor to May, including former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, and his envoys have urged a tougher British stance towards Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.

A meeting with either Johnson, favourite to succeed May, or Nigel Farage, a bombastic anti-establishment campaigner, would be seen as a snub for May who is bowing out after failing to negotiate a Brexit deal that parliament could ratify. (REUTERS)

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British PM May resigns, paving way for Brexit confrontation with EU

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, May 24th, 2019

A tearful Theresa May says goodbye to Downing Street | (c) 2019 Thomson Reuters

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday (May 24) said she would quit, triggering a contest that will bring a new leader to power who is likely to push for a more decisive Brexit divorce deal.

May set out a timetable for her departure: She will resign as Conservative Party leader on June 7 with a leadership contest in the following week.

“I will resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist party on Friday, 7 June so that a successor can be chosen,” May said outside 10 Downing Street.

May, once a reluctant supporter of EU membership, who won the top job in the turmoil that followed the 2016 Brexit vote, steps down with her central pledges – to lead the United Kingdom out of the bloc and heal its divisions – unfulfilled.

She endured crises and humiliation in her effort to find a compromise Brexit deal that parliament could ratify, and bequeaths a deeply divided country and a political elite that is deadlocked over how, when or whether to leave the EU.

May’s departure will deepen the Brexit crisis as a new leader is likely to want a more decisive split, raising the chances of a confrontation with the European Union and a snap parliamentary election.

The leading contenders to succeed May all want a tougher divorce deal, although the EU has said it will not renegotiate the Withdrawal Treaty it sealed in November. (REUTERS)

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Leadsom resigns from UK Cabinet

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

Andrea Leadsom | Courtesy : Reuters

Prominent Brexit supporter Andrea Leadsom resigned from British Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet on Wednesday (May 22), saying she could no longer support the government’s approach after May’s latest gambit to pass her Brexit deal backfired.

May resisted growing calls to resign on Wednesday, vowing to press on despite mounting opposition from lawmakers and even some of her own ministers to her latest Brexit gambit.

But Leadsom said she could not announce the new Withdrawal Agreement Bill in parliament on Thursday as she did not believe in it.

“Because I have been supporting Brexit totally for the last three years and I just couldn’t, as Leader of the Commons with responsibility for the legislation, stand up at business questions tomorrow and announce a bill that just has elements that I cannot support, that are not Brexit,” she said.

“I have been determined to deliver Brexit and I’m just worried that this bill with its new elements in it would not do that, it’s been a really tough day,” she added.

May’s new Brexit plan includes a vote on whether to hold a second Brexit referendum — once her legislation passes the first stage — as well as closer trading arrangements with the EU in future as incentives to lawmakers.

May said in a letter published to the media that she was disappointed by the resignation of Leadsom, adding that she would nevertheless stay focused on delivering Brexit. (REUTERS)

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