Mon, February 06, 2023

British PM to Address Lawmakers on Brexit Vote

Big Ben and the UK flag symbolizing brexit

British Prime Minister Theresa May will tell lawmakers on Monday that they face a stark choice, which is either support the deal she negotiated to leave the European Union or reject it and take Britain “back to square one” with “more division and more uncertainty” after the impending Brexit.

May secured a pact with the EU for a Brexit deal that will see Britain leaving the bloc with continued close trade ties, an agreement that was dismissed by the opposition Labour Party and other critics, even those who were her allies in Northern Ireland.

The recent uncertainty of the Brexit negotiation has for months contributed to the volatility of other financial markets, such as forex where the dollar recently rallied.

The future of the deal, which would deliver Britain’s biggest shift in foreign and trade policy in more than 40 years, now lies with the country’s parliament, largely divided over how the country should leave the European Union. The odds were apparently stacked against the Prime Minister.

“This has been a long and complex negotiation. It has required give and takes on both sides. That is the nature of negotiation,” she is set to tell the parliament, according to excerpts pulled from her official statement.

“And I can say to the House (of Commons) with absolute certainty that there is not a better deal available… There is a choice which MPs will have to make,” she is set to say, calling for them to support the deal and allow Great Britain to “move on.”

“Or this House can choose to reject this deal and go back to square one… It would open the door to more division and more uncertainty, with all the risks that will entail.”

May has promised to sell the deal to the British public and is warning lawmakers that if they reject it, Britain could face leaving the Union without a deal, which is something businesses say could damage the world’s fifth-largest economic powerhouse.

The European Union is also very clear with its stand: there will be less appetite to re-open a Brexit negotiation if the parliament votes down.

The European Union flags as seen outside a building

May’s plan will face opposition from both Eurosceptic and Europhiles within her party’s 314 lawmakers and around 313 lawmakers from opposition parties. The 10 Democratic Unionist Party Northern Irish lawmakers propping up the government said at the weekend they will vote against the deal.

May needs to win a simple majority in parliament, which amounts to 320 votes if active lawmakers turn out and vote, but former whips, who have extensively studied parliamentary arithmetic, say that the prime minister may be only needing 305 votes is absentees and sick lawmakers are accounted for.

The prime minister has exhibited little sign of changing tack to try to curry favor but will deploy some of the weapons in her arsenal to try to convince lawmakers.

On the other hand, even some of her aides say they know it will not be an easy task, and that May will just try to persuade people by pressing her main message.

“I believe our national interest is clear. The British people want us to get on with a deal that honors the referendum and allows us to come together again as a country whichever way we voted,” she is expected to say. “This is that deal. A deal that delivers for the British people.”

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