Saturday, 23 March, 2019

May Accused Of 'Bribing' Labour Lawmakers To Win Brexit Support

Brexiteers outline EU deal terms EU’s Barnier to meet UK Brexit negotiators on Tuesday
Lloyd Bates | 07 March, 2019, 08:27

One EU diplomat said Mr Cox's proposal would give the United Kingdom the right to say it had acted in good faith but that all efforts to replace the backstop had come to nought and therefore it could walk away.

The meeting took place as Theresa May prepared for next week's crunch "meaningful vote" in the Commons on her Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

May is hoping to win over enough lawmakers to pass it, by agreeing a legal addendum with the European Union on the deal's most controversial element: a "backstop" to ensure no hard border between EU-member Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland.

However, Barnier told the weekly meeting of the College of Commissioners in Brussels that the negotiations were proving "difficult" and a way forward had not been found.

His downbeat tone was echoed by the European Commission which said the talks had been "difficult" despite taking place in "a constructive atmosphere".

"No solution has been identified at this point", he said.

May's official spokesman told reporters at Westminster: "My understanding is that the talks were hard and there was a robust exchange of views".

He promised negotiations would resume soon, while May's spokesman said technical talks were ongoing.

Last Friday Barnier said he was aware of "misgivings in Britain that the backstop could keep Britain forever connected to the European Union", but he was "ready to give further guarantees, assurances and clarifications that the backstop should only be temporary", which would be created to assuage some of the key worries from the government's more Eurosceptic MPs.

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Ms Soubry said: "Voters will not be fooled, especially those in areas which voted Leave and are now demanding a People's Vote because they know, whichever way you do it, Brexit will harm their futures".

The Sunday Times said a group including former Brexit minister Dominic Raab and Nigel Dodds, the deputy leader of the Northern Irish party which props up May's minority government, had drawn up the tests by which they would assess any changes.

The threat of Brexit, especially if there's no deal, could hurt the British economy.

Diplomats said talks in Brussels led by British Prime Minister Theresa May's chief lawyer, Mr Geoffrey Cox, failed to yield a repackaged deal on Tuesday, with barely over three weeks to go before Britain's scheduled exit on March 29.

He told a parliamentary committee: "The Chief Whip has reminded Conservative MPs that there may not be an Easter recess". "I think the signals we are getting are reasonably positive, I don't want to overstate them because I think there is still a lot of work to do".

"When it comes to workers' rights, this parliament has set world-leading standards and will continue to do so in the future, taking its own decisions, working closely with trade unions and businesses".

Trades Union Congress general secretary Frances O'Grady said the announcement was "blatant window dressing" that left protections under threat.

Scottish National Party lawmaker Stewart McDonald accused May of 'planning to break all spending norms, while Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake tweeted that 'anyone who votes for the PM's deal on the back of this Tory promise is a gullible fool.

According to the prominent Labor parliamentarian John McDonnell, it is a desperate attempt to bribe in order to get support from lawmakers from that party in next Tuesday's voting.

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