DUP says Brexit talks with Government 'constructive'

Stephanie Peacock

The UK government has said there could be a much longer delay, requiring the UK to take part in elections for the European Parliament in May, the prime minister has said, in the event her deal is not approved.

The PM's deal will be put to another vote next week, just 15 days before the country is due to leave the European Union on 29 March, after MPs including four rebellious Cabinet members (Amber Rudd, inset) voted to permanently rule out No Deal Brexit. That vote could come next week.

While winning two votes after a series of defeats had Mrs May laughing with delight, there were more signs of her lack of control over her own party. It has twice been defeated, by a margin of 230 in January and 149 this past week.

Even if the deadline is unanimously agreed, the Prime Minister will still need to get a deal through the Houses of Commons, which is now divided on the matter of the Irish back-stop.

If she wins that vote, she will ask for a one-off extension to Brexit get the necessary legislation through Parliament at an European Union summit on March 21 - if not she could ask for a longer extension.

"It is incumbent on everyone to try and get a deal", including the British and Irish governments and the European Union, he said.

"If it was felt that it were worthwhile to bring back a new vote, then that's what we would do".

Signatories of the amendment in the name of the Conservative MP Lee Rowley included Boris Johnson and Bill Cash plus the DUP's Nigel Dodds and Labour MPs including Gareth Snell, Caroline Flint, Denis Skinner, Kate Hoey and John Mann.




Seven cabinet ministers - Ms Truss, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson - voted against the government motion.

Mr Tusk said: "I will appeal to the EU27 to be open to a long extension if the United Kingdom finds it necessary to rethink its Brexit strategy and build consensus around it".

He said there were now two options: "To vote for the deal and leave in orderly way or a long delay and I think that would be a disaster".

A vote by Britain's parliament to seek to delay when it leaves the European Union only adds uncertainty about timing to an already hard situation, Germany's DIHK industry group said in comments published by German media on Friday.

Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington said the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit had "diminished" with Thursday's votes. But 17 Labour MPs defied party orders and voted to oppose another referendum - while 24 Labour MPs rebelled to vote in favor of one. Mark Francois told BBC television.

"All of us now have the opportunity and responsibility to work together to find a solution to the crisis facing this country, where the government has so dramatically failed to do so", said Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour party.

"There will be Conservatives who vote against it come what may, that's why in order for it to pass three things have to happen: she has to get the DUP on board, she has to persuade as many as possible of the 75 (Brexiteer) Conservatives to vote for it, and she will nearly certainly need more Labour MPs", said John Whittingdale, a Conservative lawmaker and member of the pro-Brexit faction. Today Chancellor Philip Hammond hinted that Attorney General Geoffrey Cox could revisit his legal advice on whether Britain would be trapped in the Irish backstop "indefinitely" - unlocking votes for Mrs May's deal. It lost some of those gains on Thursday.

The prospect of a long extension period would be the stuff of nightmares for hardline eurosceptics, anxious that Brexit may never happen and could strengthen PM May's hand as she pushes to get her deal over the line.

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