Varadkar: DUP do not want no-deal Brexit

LONDON-British Prime Minister Theresa May worked Friday to pull off an against-the-odds rescue for her European Union divorce deal, after Parliament voted to postpone Brexit to avert a chaotic United Kingdom departure in two weeks.

"As a delay was passed by Parliament, I want to see deal agreed ASAP so we can minimize to short, technical, extension".

Talks are continuing with the Democratic Unionist Party, which said there were "still issues to be discussed" with ministers about the deal and the contentious Irish backstop measures.

And the Liberal Democrat soon-not-to-be leader, Vince Cable, said that if Theresa May's deal was rejected yet again this week, then parliament could end up cancelling Brexit. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn hopes that by supporting the second vote this will stop "a damaging Tory Brexit".

"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.

Looking at their intended trajectory and where the legal and constitutional buffers are, it is becoming clearer by the day that our politicians are no longer in the mood to play within time-honoured rules and deliver for the people of the UK. May had to rely on Labour and other opposition votes to get it through MPs earlier rejected an attempt to secure another Brexit referendum by 334 to 85. Not only do some high-profile Conservatives, including former cabinet minister Esther McVey, now support the deal but the DUP is said to be in "ongoing, significant" discussions with Downing Street.

A new vote on May's deal is likely next week, when those lawmakers must decide whether to back a deal they feel does not offer a clean break from the European Union, or reject it and accept that Brexit could be watered down or even thwarted by a long delay. That's another justification for a longer extension, two European Union officials said.

The UK Parliament will hold a number of important votes on the future of the Brexit process in the next few days, which will determine the nature of the future UK-EU relationship.

"Crucially, the deal is nearly as unpopular among Leave voters - whose mandate the Prime Minister is trying to fulfil - as it is among Remain supporters".

And it could also use the same tactics to fend off the requirement to hold EU Parliament elections in May, however long the Article 50 extension is. But the failure of everyone else to come up with anything close to an alternative plan means that her deal remains the most likely outcome.

The British parliament voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to seek a delay to the March 29 exit date enshrined in law.

  • Tracy Klein