Brexit Betrayal Day: Parliament Rejects Theresa May’s Last Ditch Fight For EU-Approved ‘Deal’

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Britain’s House of Commons has voted to reject Theresa May’s so-called Withdrawal Agreement just hours before the nation was supposed to leave the European Union, with or without a deal — a deadline betrayed this week by Parliament after they voted to postpone Brexit months or even years into the future.

Britain’s lawmakers have already voted against the settlement the Prime Minister agreed with the European Union twice, and the government was blocked from bringing it to Parliament again. Yet by splitting the deal into two pieces, the ‘Brexit in name only‘ apparently comes before Parliament again as a different vote in spirit only.

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UPDATE 1830 — Nigel speaks to the rally

Nigel Farage has struck an optimistic note on this day of Brexit betrayal, telling the Parliament square rally:

I can’t think of any time in history, where a greater betrayal of a democratic vote has ever happened in the Western world, and they can tonight over there content themselves because they think they’re winning. But that’s because they live in the Westminster bubble. We’re the real people of this country, and we know that the referendum was the first of many great victories.

We will get our country back, we will get out independence back, we will get out pride and self-respect back. We are going to win!

Read more at Breitbart London:

UPDATE 1710 — May meets cabinet members

The Prime Minister is reportedly meeting with a delegation of Cabinet ministers, who are thought to be urging her to adopt an even weaker form of Brexit than the one outlined in the seemingly abandoned Political Declaration which formerly accompanied the thrice-defeated Withdrawal Agreement, possibly involving full membership of the EU Customs Union, or “a” customs union which would have the same practical effect.

This would almost certainly kill any chance of the United Kingdom being able to strike new trade deals with countries like the United States, Australia, and New Zealand after Brexit, and leave the EU able to barter access to British markets without Britain’s political representatives having any say in the matter while striking its own trade deals.

Meanwhile, Nigel Farage is enjoying the crowds in Parliament Square…

UPDATE 1705 — EU’s Brexit Negotiator Floats Upgrading May’s ‘Worst Deal Ever’ to ‘Worst Deal Ever Plus Customs Union’

In comments reported by politico.eu, Michel Barnier suggested that the EU he was open to a deal which would mean the UK would maintain the same tariffs and trade policies as the EU, appealing to Remainer parliamentarians who want to stop a clean break.

“We are ready to be even more ambitious should the U.K.’s red-lines evolve. For instance, we are open to work on the principle of a permanent customs union should the U.K. decide to take this path,” Mr Barnier said at the College of Europe campus in Warsaw, Poland.

However, Barnier added, “Let me be frank: Without a positive choice, the default option would be a no-deal, which has become more likely. It was never our scenario, but the EU27 is now prepared.”

UPDATE 1650 — Tory Brexiteer cautions against optimism 

Veteran Tory MP Michael Fabricant has warned that, “If #Brexiteers think that a victory has been won, because #Remainers and #Labour voted down the #Deal, think again.”

Mr Fabricant, a Brexiteer himself, who backed the deal with some reluctance, predicted that “On Monday, the #Remainer Parliament will try to keep us in the Customs Union which means our obeying #EU legislation and having no say in making them. Worse than [before]”.

However, the deal would have involved also have involved a “transition period” lasting to the end of December 2022 in which Britain would have essentially remained a full member of the European Union, minus its representation in the EU institutions — with Remainers able to push for a switch back to formal membership at the end of it if the despised backstop remained the only deal on offer.

UPDATE 1625 — Europe mouthpiece Ireland talks up long Brexit delay

Irish taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar is set for to meet with Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Emmanuel Macron for crunch talks in the wake of the Withdrawal Agreement’s rejection.

“These two meetings reflect the deep and warm relations Ireland enjoys with both France and Germany, including the support shown to Ireland during the Brexit negotiations,” said a spokesman for the Irish leader, who has been extremely combative throughout the EU’s talks with the British, despite his country’s heavy economic dependence on trade both with and via the United Kingdom, and the enormous blow which would fall on it in the event of No Deal.

“The [Irish] Government notes the decision of the House of Commons to reject the indicative Withdrawal Agreement. It is now up to the UK to indicate how it plans to proceed in order to avoid a No Deal scenario,” the taoiseach remarked in a separate statement on the British vote.

“We must be open to a long extension, should the United Kingdom decide to fundamentally reconsider its approach to Brexit,” he added.

UPDATE 1610 — In other news…

The Independent Group have chosen today to rebrand themselves as a political party in time, they hope, to challenge the potential European Parliament elections in May.

To the amusement of some on social media, they have chosen to call themselves the Change UK party — odd, given they are campaigning to keep things the same. Read more on Breitbart London:

UPDATE 1605 — Sir Bernard Jenkin: There are only 160 MPs who really believe in leaving the European Union

Saying that the most likely outcome of today’s developments was a longer extension, Sir Bernard said, “This only arises because there are about 160 MPs in parliament who really believe in leaving the European Union and the withdrawal agreement we ended up with was negotiated in such a way as to keep us poised to rejoin at some stage.

On Prime Minister Theresa May’s successor, the Tory Brexiteer said, “I think it’s important to have somebody that has the confidence of the whole party and we don’t have another kind of coronation like we had last time.

“I think the membership of the party must have the final choice and that makes its very likely we end up with someone who supports leave the European Union.

“We can’t have another prime minister who says she wants to leave the European Union and respects the result when they don’t believe in that project… putting someone in charge of a project they don’t believe in doesn’t work as we’ve learnt.”

Sir Bernard echoes the sentiments of former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith who said told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, “We want the second phase [of Brexit negotiations] to be led by someone who passionately believes in what 17.4 million people voted for, which was to leave the European Union.”

“Now is the time for a new set of hands with a proper professional team that actually believes in Brexit and gets us through the next phase,” Mr Duncan Smith added.

UPDATE 1556 — Pro-Brexit demonstrators gathering outside Parliament

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has welcomed the defeat of Mrs May’s deal, but warned that it appears there are now fresh battles ahead for Brexiteers.

“The new EU treaty has been rightly defeated for a third time. Extension and further battles now seem inevitable,” he observed, vowing: “We are not downhearted, and will fight them again”

“The DUP was right,” he added later, sharing a picture of himself alongside one of the Northern Irish party’s heavyweight MPs, Ian Paisley Jr.

The Leave Means Leave rally is due to start in Parliament Square in about 30 minutes time — a concurrent protest led by UKIP featuring Tommy Robinson is already taking place on adjacent Whitehall. Some pictures from Getty’s photographers:

Pro-Brexit demonstrators carry a coffin representing the death of democracy as protesters gather in Parliament Square in central London on March 29, 2019. – British MPs on Friday rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s EU divorce deal for a third time, opening the way for a long delay to Brexit — or a potentially catastophic “no deal” withdrawal in two weeks. NIKLAS HALLE’N/AFP/Getty Images)

Pro-Brexit demonstrators carry a banner in Parliament Square outside the House of Commons in central London on March 29, 2019 after MPs rejected the EU Withdrawl Agreement for a third time. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 29: Tommy Robinson speaks during a demo in Parliament Square on March 29, 2019 in London, England. Today pro-Brexit supporters including the March To Leave joined together to protest at the delay to Brexit on the very day the UK and Northern Ireland should have left the European Union. Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage addressed the crowd along with Members of the European Parliament and other high profile Brexiteers. At the same time MPs voted against the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal for the third time. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 29: Pro-Brexit supporters march past the Houses of Parliament a demo in Parliament Square on March 29, 2019 in London, England. Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)

Pro-Brexit activists demonstrate near the Houses of Parliament in central London on March 29, 2019. NIKLAS HALLE’N/AFP/Getty Images)

Pro-Brexit activists demonstrate near the Houses of Parliament in central London on March 29, 2019. NIKLAS HALLE’N/AFP/Getty Images)

UPDATE 1542 — Diehard Brexiteer gives his reasoning

Steve Baker MP, the former Brexit minister and Deputy Chairman of the European Research Group (ERG) who voted against the Withdrawal Agreement, has revealed that he wrestled with whether or not to back it until the last minute.

“As late as last night I was sitting in the library here writing an article on how I was going to be forced to vote for the agreement, because in the Commons we’re beaten on the numbers,” he confessed.

“But I just realised I’m not going to surrender; it’s a rotten deal for the UK, the voters know it, they’re here today telling me so, and I concluded I’m never going to surrender to vote for this deal and this backstop,” he told Sky News.

He also reiterated his near-instantaneous call for Mrs May to go in the wake of her defeat, saying she had “used up all her political capital” in her failed efforts to get the deal over the line.

“Really, it is time to accept that this deal’s not going through, it is no good [to] keep following the same path, so I would like the Government to go to this [European] Council which has been announced [on April 10th] and ask for changes on the backstop,” he insisted.

“There’s a lot we don’t like about this agreement, but the backstop means we would indefinitely be trapped.”

The EU has insisted the backstop is no longer up for discussion, however, meaning Mr Baker’s strategy would be unlikely to bear fruit — although, as he would be content to accept No Deal rather than a bad deal, this would perhaps cause him less consternation than it causes the Remainers who have been in charge of Brexit up to now.

“The House of Commons, I’m afraid, has proven itself to be weak and incompetent, there’s people saying they want to leave the European Union, rejecting the deal, rejecting the deal, rejecting all the alternatives, rejecting… contingency arrangements,” he blasted, referring to the so-called “indicative votes” in which MPs rejected every Brexit option put to them.

He insisted he had not voted against Brexit by rejecting the deal, saying it was not a Brexit “worth having”.

“People aren’t fools, there’s normal people following these issues coming up to me and thanking me for voting this deal down. No, this was a rotten deal for the UK, triple-locking us into the institutions. It was as little Brexit as possible; it appears to be designed to facilitate us going back in later, and so we’ve rejected it,” he explained.

“That’s why the backstop needs to change because it’s the one thing that was indefinite. If we can change it so it’s not indefinite then we could potentially vote for it and move on,” he concluded.

He added that he would not resign from the Tory party, as previously suggested, as he had a duty to his constituency association to hold his seat as a Conservative Party MP.

UPDATE 1830 — Nigel Farage’s speech to the Brexit Betrayal Protest

Nigel Farage has told crowds that he will fight the European Parliament elections, should the UK be forced into contesting them by a lengthy Brexit delay.

Striking an optimistic note on a day where the Brexit vote has been betrayed and many may be feeling somewhat downcast, the Brexit leader told the crowd:

I can’t think of any time in history, where a greater betrayal of a democratic vote has ever happened in the Western world, and they can tonight over there content themselves because they think they’re winning. But that’s because they live in the Westminster bubble. We’re the real people of this country, and we know that the referendum was the first of many great victories.

We will get our country back, we will get out independence back, we will get out pride and self-respect back. We are going to win!

Read more at Breitbart London:

https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2019/03/29/pics-nigel-farage-tells-brexit-betrayal-protest/

UPDATE 1538 — EU’s Executive Arm: ‘No Deal Now Likely Scenario’

The European Commission has said that in light of today’s vote, “a ‘no deal’ on 12 April is now a likely scenario.”

In terms that Eurocrats may believe are a threat to the UK — but to be welcomed by those who want the will of the British people honoured — the bloc said that it is ready for a no deal exit on April 12. They have tweeted their full statement:

UPDATE 1530 — The Fishing For Leave Boat has arrived in Westminster

The Leave Means Leave march from Sunderland to London has arrived in London, and a rally led by Nigel Farage and other leading Brexiteers is due to take place in Parliament Square in little under an hours time.

A particular feature of this march has been a traditional style fishing boat carried south on the back of a truck, in the style of a funeral carriage. It now appears to have arrived in Westminster and is outside the Parliamentary estate now.

Breitbart London Photo

UPDATE 1525 — Leader of Failing Pro-EU Party Vince Cable Calls for Second Referendum

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has echoed the calls of other Remainers for another referendum after Parliament voted against Mrs May’s ‘deal’, after it had voted to rule out a clean, no deal exit, saying “The only route to resolve the crisis is a final say with the option to Remain in the EU.”

“A long extension to Article 50 is now clearly needed, and a People’s Vote is the best way to persuade European leaders to agree one,” he added.

UPDATE 1523 — Britain’s Oldest Conservative Think Tank the Bow Group Condemns those Tories Who Sold out to Vote for May’s Failing ‘Deal’

Chairman of the Bow Group Ben Harris-Quinney told Breitbart London:

Several weeks ago several intermediaries were being used by Number 10 to reach out to Brexit supporting groups including the Bow Group to ask us to support May’s deal.

Some like Matthew Elliott capitulated under unclear conditions, but our demands were clear: The Bow Group will only support a withdrawal agreement that restores all sovereign powers to the United Kingdom, that comes alongside widespread democratic reforms within the Conservative Party so that candidates and leaders are elected not selected, and a strong immigration White Paper.

The response from Number 10 was that none of these conditions would even be considered, but that we should support the deal anyway.

I have never encountered such arrogance and catastrophic miscalculation of the realpolitik of a situation. There was a pig-headed unwillingness by Number 10 to wake up to the political reality. Instead they have made fools of themselves and by extension this country with their childlike misunderstanding of political reality.

The membership of the Conservative Party will no doubt wish to investigate how these amateurs came to unaccountably lead what was once the greatest political party in Britain.

As for the way forward for Brexit, unless an acceptable withdrawal agreement is presented we believe the best course to deliver the Brexit that was on the ballot is a no deal/WTO scenario on April 12th.

Potential Conservative leadership candidates like Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, who by their own admission are not conservatives and have not been long-term Brexiteers, have done their leadership ambitions huge damage – Both in supporting May’s deal because of its betrayal of Brexit, but also their naive miscalculation of of how things were likely to play out in the Chamber today.

The Bow Group is immensely proud of our Senior Patrons Sir John Redwood and Sir Bill Cash who have shown great calm under pressure to honestly stick to their principles not only today, but throughout their long political careers. It so happens to be our President Lord Tebbit’s birthday today, and we wish him many happy returns in a life that has also been underwritten by unwavering principle.

The same can be said for almost all those Tory MPs who voted against this betrayal of Brexit. In a time when faith in politics is at an all time low, it is an honour to stand alongside the incorruptible torch bearers of the true spirit of the Conservative Party, however few of them remain.

UPDATE 1510 — Time for change? 

Leave.EU, the larger of the two major Brexit campaign during the EU referendum in 2016, close to Nigel Farage, has welcomed the defeat of Mrs May’s deal, and called for her to step down and make way for “a proper leader who believes in Brexit” and will deliver a WTO, or No Deal, Brexit.

28 Brexiteer Tory “Spartans” voted against the Withdrawal Agreement, including former Brexit minister Steve Baker, European Research Group (ERG) Vice Chairman Mark Francois, and veteran eurosceptic Sir Bill Cash.

UPDATE 1509 — Dominic Grieve revives Remainer hopes for a Second Referendum in wake of third May defeat

Mr Grieve, who is potentially facing deselection in his own constituency, reminded that with the Remainer-dominated House of Commons voting down leaving in a clean, no deal Brexit he sees room for a second referendum.

The former attorney-general said, “My view has always been that whatever deal we get we should go back to the electorate and ask them” with the options being accepting May’s deal and staying in the EU.

UPDATE, 1507 — Sky News cites EU sources mooting no deal Brexit

The European Commission, the unelected executive which has been leading the Brexit negotiations for the EU, has said it now believes a No Deal break with the United Kingdom on April 12th is a “likely scenario” — despite majority opposition to this by British politicians, and a widespread expectation that the European Council will offer the UK a long delay to Brexit, possibly to April 2020.

A full, no deal Brexit isn’t without friends in the United Kingdom despite the deep animosity towards it from the House of Commons, however. As reported by Breitbart London this morning, a respected economist and former governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King dismissed the claims of so-called project fear, and criticised politicians for having a collective “nervous breakdown” over Brexit.

Speaking to the BBC Friday morning, Lord King said:

My own personal preference would be to go back to Europe and say we have a clear strategy which is we want to leave without a deal. But we would like to take six months to complete the preparations to avoid the dislocation… I would like to see us say that we will leave without a deal, a certain distance ahead, which would give the country time to make those preparations and then I think we’d be in a much stronger situation.

Read more at Breitbart London:

UPDATE 1500 — What does this mean?

The United Kingdom has now defaulted to a clean, No Deal exit on the new April 12th deadline agreed at the European Council meeting where the Prime Minister agreed an extension of the Article 50 negotiating period with the bloc, but it seems likely that a Remainer-dominated House of Commons clearly opposed to No Deal will not allow this to happen.

“The implication of the House’s decision is now grave,” the Prime Minister told the House. “[There] is not enough time to agree legislature and ratify a deal and the House has voted to not leave without a deal and so we will have to agree an alternative way forward,” she observed.

MPs will now hold a new round of so-called “indicative votes” on Monday, to tease out a possible way forward.

The last of these ended in stalemates, with the House rejecting all possible options, including No Deal, revocation of Article 50, and a public vote on Mrs May’s deal.

UPDATE 1454 — European Elections now loom on the horizon

Speaking to Sky News, Independent Group (now Change UK Party, as of today) spokesman Chukka Umunna discusses preparing to field candidates for potential European Parliament elections which may now take place in May. No doubt, several other parties — including Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party, will be thinking the same way after the vote.

UPDATE 1451 — EU to convene an emergency meeting to respond

President of the European Council Donald Tusk has announced that he will be calling a meeting of the European Council on April 10th in response to the failure of Mrs May’s deal — two day’s before the new deadline for a No Deal exit.

UPDATE 1450 — The Prime Minister responds

Getting to her feet after the vote, the Prime Minister said:

The implication of the House’s decision is now grave. The legal default is the United Kingdom is to leave the European Union on the 12th of Aprill. That is not enough time to agree legislature and ratify a deal and the House has voted to not leave without a deal and so we will have to agree an alternative way forward.

The European Union has been clear than any further extension will need to have a clear purpose and be agreed unanimously by the 27 heads of state before the 12th of April.

It is now almost certain to involve the UK being required to hold European Parliament elections. On Monday this House will continue to see if there is majority for a particular future relationship with the EU.

I fear we are reaching the limits of the options of this House. This House has rejected no deal, this House has rejected no brexit on Wednesday. It rejected all the variations of the deal on the table and have rejected the withdrawal on its own. This government will continue to press the case for an orderly brexit that the result of the referendum demands.

Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn hits back, saying the Prime Minister should leave office and hold a general election. Interestingly he also states that today is the third vote on May’s deal — a truth unspoken by the government as part of the pretence to get the Withdrawal Agreement before parliament again in face of the Speaker’s ban on bringing the same legislation repeatedly.

UPDATE 1442 — Government defeated 344 — 286

As expected, the House has voted against the government’s Brexit ‘deal’ for the third time, falling short by 58 votes. The Prime Minister says this means the United Kingdom is on course to leave the European Union on April 12th without a deal — but acknowledges the Commons will not permit this happening.

The country will have to hold European Union elections in the month of May, therefore. If a real ‘no-deal’ Brexit is a nightmare for Parliament, then holding elections the mainstream parties are likely to be hammered at must come a close second.

UPDATE 1427 — Bercow announces divisions

After a morning of speeches in the chamber, including an impassioned speech by the Prime Minister in defence of her deal, the Speaker of the House has called divisions — meaning members have gone to the lobbies to vote. We can expect a result in 15 to 20 minutes.

Defending her deal against the persistent feeling that her Brexit settlement with Europe is no real Brexit at all, the Prime Minister appeared to plead with the house, telling them voting for her deal is the “the last opportunity to guarantee Brexit”.

The Prime Minister said:

Today’s motion is not about a blind breit is it a guarantee to brexit today we can give the public and business the certainty they need today.Today we can show we can stand by our word. Today we can come together in the national interest

Today we can take a step forward together this is a difficult day for mema crso the house by asking member to take a hard decision and asking some honourable members to vote for a brexit that is less than they hoped for and that is not east. I’m asking the opposition to deliver on instruction of British people and that is not easy either.”

I have said I am prepared to leave this job earlier than intended to secure the right outcome for our country and when the devision bell rings in a few moments’ time, everyone one of us will have to look into our hearts to see what is right for our constituencies and our country.

How did we get here? 

By Jack Montgomery

Before now, the prime minister had assured Leave voters that “no deal is better than a bad deal” and promised no less than 108 times that the UK would be leaving the EU, come what may, on March 29th 2019.

However, after the Withdrawal Agreement she negotiated with the bloc — allegedly behind the backs of ministers at the Brexiteer-led Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) — was rejected by Parliament twice, she reversed course, asking the European Council for an extension of the two-year Article 50 exit negotiations commenced in 2017, over the objections of Tory activists and most of her own MPs.

The EU granted the Tory leader a shorter stay of execution than she was asking for, and MPs must vote today for her agreement so Britain can leave the EU under its terms on May 22nd.

If they do not, the country defaults to a No Deal exit on April 12th — although it is widely expected that the Remain-dominated House of Commons would move swiftly to prevent this, instead forcing the Government to request a much longer extension, with or without Mrs May, with the EU reportedly ready to push exit deadline all the way to April Fools’ Day in 2020.

What happens if the deal does pass?

If the deal does make it through the House of Commons somehow, it is likely that the United Kingdom will leave the EU under its terms on May 22nd — at least in name.

Britain would not participate in the European Parliament elections in May, and would lose its MEPs and European Council representation, but would remain an EU member in all other respects until the end of a so-called “transition period” in which negotiations between the British government — under new leadership, assuming Mrs May keeps her promise to stand down — and Brussels.

If no future partnership is agreed during this transition, which could last all the way to the end of December 2022, the deal makes provisions for the so-called “backstop” to come into force, with Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales) being incorporated into an EU-controlled “single customs territory”, while Northern Ireland would be effectively annexed into the EU Customs Union and Single Market proper.

This is considered an unacceptable outcome by virtually all sides of the Brexit debate, and the deal does not allow for Britain to break the arrangement without the EU’s permission — leading to fears that Remainers will simply reopen the question of whether the UK should simply revert seamlessly to full EU membership once the transition is over.

Do we know what will happen next if the deal does not pass?

Legally, the United Kingdom should simply leave the EU cleanly on April 12th on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms if the deal does not pass — otherwise known as a “No Deal” or “Hard” Brexit.

However, this was also supposed to be the cast for March 29th, and the British government, Parliament, and European Union instead contrived for Brexit to be delayed.

It is expected that the same thing will happen if the deal fails today, with the overwhelming majority of MPs voting to reject a No Deal Brexit in a series of “indicative votes”.

However, MPs also voted against every other alternative, including pushing for an even weaker form of Brexit, holding another referendum, and revoking Article 50 — which would essentially cancel the Brexit process.

This leaves the country in an invidious position, where a Leave-supporting populace is served by a Remain-supporting Parliament which has voted against every available Brexit, and where no party commands an overall majority.

A long extension, as the EU has been pushing for with increasing confidence, seems to be the inevitable outcome, assuming the bloc itself does not force a No Deal — as some Brexiteers have been  hoping.

This would likely mean Britain would have to participate in the European Parliament elections in May — an event which could serve as something of a proxy second referendum, with parties opposed to Brexit facing off against Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party and Gerard Batten’s UKIP — and a British general election, in which the Tories would likely be under new management.

What strategy for Brexit the Leaver-backed but Remainer-led party would be putting to the people at such an election, however, is unclear.

Read more at Breitbart London

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