Embattled UK ministers fight for Brexit

Ministers will again battle to win over MPs to Theresa May’s Brexit deal later, a day after the government suffered three defeats on key votes.

Security will be the focus of the second of five days of debate in the Commons, where Tuesday’s marathon session extended into the early hours.

Crucially, MPs backed calls to give them a direct say in what happens if Mrs May’s deal is rejected next week.

The government is due to publish its Brexit legal advice at 11:30 GMT.

Ministers agreed to release the advice in full after MPs voted to find the government in contempt of Parliament for ignoring a Commons vote demanding publication.

The PM’s deal has been endorsed by EU leaders but must also be backed by the UK Parliament if it is to come into force. MPs will decide whether to reject or accept it next Tuesday, 11 December.

The UK is due to leave the European Union on 29 March, 2019. Ministers say that if MPs reject their deal they increase the chances of the UK leaving without a deal, or not leaving the EU at all.

Ministers will plough on with attempts to win over MPs on Wednesday, with eight hours of debate on the security and immigration aspects of the withdrawal agreement.

Meanwhile, Mrs May is expected to continue trying to convince small groups of her MPs to back the plan in private meetings.

Mrs May will face Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, at prime minister’s questions, at mid-day, before the Brexit debate gets under way.

Warnings falling on deaf ears?

Brexiteer cabinet minister Michael Gove has warned his fellow MPs that if they do not vote for Mrs May’s deal, they “risk there being no Brexit”.

Speaking outside his home, the environment secretary said: “We’re going to make a powerful argument that this deal is in the best interests of the country.

“Everyone has to think at this momentous moment – do we want to ensure that Brexit gets over the line? Do we want to deliver on the verdict of the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the European Union (EU) because if we don’t back the prime minister, we risk there being no Brexit and that I think would be a fatal blow to faith in democracy.”

But a former Conservative chief whip has said he expects the PM to lose the vote.

Mark Harper, who backed Remain in the referendum told the Daily Telegraph he would vote against the withdrawal agreement, and predicted the deal would be rejected by 80 of his party colleagues.

He urged the prime minister to renegotiate the deal, insisting the current plan would leave the UK worse off.—BBC


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