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This week in Brexit: 3 December – 16 December

Posted by Lotty Reeves on 20th December 2018

Monday 10 December 2018

  • The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that the UK can unilaterally withdraw its Article 50 notification without requiring the permission of the other 27 EU member countries. The ECJ’s ruling confirmed that the UK would be able to stay within the European Union on the current terms of its membership (source link).
  • Theresa May confirmed speculation that the government would delay the Commons vote on the Brexit deal and announced she would go back to the EU to seek further reassurances on over the controversial Northern Ireland backstop (source link).
  • The pound fell to its lowest level since April 2017 after the prime minister announced the decision to delay the Commons vote (source link). 
  • EU leaders have told There May they will not renegotiate the Brexit deal but would be prepared to offer assurances that would help allay MP’s concerns on the Northern Ireland backstop (source link).  
  • Sir John Major warned of violence returning to Northern Ireland if physical checks or infrastructure were reintroduced at the border on the island of Ireland. Sir John also accused those who “believe[d] themselves to be unionists” and opposed the Northern Ireland backstop of “breathtaking ignorance” (source link).

Tuesday 11 December 2018

  • Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, has said that the Republic of Ireland would now need to step its  contingency plans for the possibility of the UK leaving the EU without a deal. Preparation for a no-deal Brexit include the recruitment of customs, veterinary and health officers at Irish ports (source link).
  • The government spent almost £100,000 advertising the Brexit deal on Facebook, according to figures released by the social media firm. The overall spending by the government on social media adverts is likely to be much higher (source link).
  • Prime minister Theresa May stated there was a “shared determination” among EU leaders to solve the Irish border issue. The prime minister made her comments after talks with her Dutch and German counterparts. However, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, repeated the EU’s position that the deal could not be renegotiated. Although, she stated she was optimistic that a solution to the Irish border issue could be found (source link).

Wednesday 12 December 2018

  • Chairman of the 1922 committee, Sir Graham Brady, confirmed that he had received the 48 letters required to trigger a no-confidence vote in the prime minister Theresa May. Sir Graham confirmed that that the vote of no-confidence would be held on same day between 6 pm and 8 pm (source link). 
  • The prime minister Theresa May has vowed to contest the no-confidence vote with everything she has got. Mrs May warned that a change of leadership in the Conservative Party would put the country’s future at risk and create uncertainty at a time when the country can least afford it. Mrs May warned if she loses the no-confidence vote, the Article 50 exit process would need to be extended beyond 29 March 2019, as any new leader would not be in place until late January at the earliest (source link). 
  • The prime minister told Conservative MP’s that she would not lead them into the next general election, ahead of the vote on no-confidence in her leadership of the Conservative Party (source link). 
  • The prime minister won the vote of confidence in her leadership of the Conservative Party with a majority of 83. However, 117 (37%) of MP’s voted they had no confidence in the Theresa May’s leadership of the Conservative Party (source link).
  • Theresa May has said she would listen to those colleagues who voted against her in the vote of no-confidence but insisted on getting on with the job of delivering a Brexit which honored the vote of the British people. She appealed for politicians on all sides to come together and act in the national interest (source link).    

Thursday 13 December 2018

  • Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith has called on the prime minister to resolve MP’s concerns on the Northern Ireland backstop by threatening to withhold the payment of the £39 billion divorce bill (source link).
  • Former Conservative education minister Nicky Morgan has suggested that a split in the Tory party could be looming with hardline Eurosceptics leaving the party (source link).
  • Leader of the Commons, Andrea Leadsom, confirmed that the government’s long-awaited white paper on its immigration policy  after Brexit will be published next week, before the Christmas break (source link).
  • Prime minister Theresa May confirmed reports that she would not lead the Conservative Party into the next general election but refused to set a date for her departure (source link).
  • Eurosceptic Conservative MP’s have warned the prime minister that they will vote down her deal if she fails to secure meaningful concessions from the EU on the Northern Ireland backstop (source link).

Friday 14 December 2018

  • The EU has stated that the withdrawal agreement would not be renegotiated after Theresa May requested legal assurances on the Northern Ireland backstop. Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, appealed to the UK to spell out what it wants rather than asking the EU what it wants (source link).
  • The prime minister threatened to crash the Brexit deal negotiated between the EU and the UK government if she failed to win any more concessions from the EU (source link).
  • Former prime minister Tony Blair has said MP’s could end up supporting another referendum on Brexit if none of the other options worked. He urged the prime minister to facilitate the process by allowing MP’s to vote on a range of options including Norway and Canada-style alternatives (source link). 
  • The EU Commission has confirmed that UK tourists will not require a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit. However, Britons will need to pay €7 every three years to travel to the EU (source link).  

Saturday 15 December 2018

  • Senior Tory ministers are urging the prime minister to give MP’s a series of free votes over different options including a second referendum as a way of breaking the Commons deadlock over Brexit (source link). 
  • Jo Johnson, former transport minister, has warned that Theresa May is trying to “run down the clock” and minimise Parliament’s role in Brexit (source link).
  • Amber Rudd, the work and pensions secretary, has warned that Brexit is in danger of getting stuck and advocated MP’s across different parties coming together to try and forge a consensus. She backed the idea of trying to find a plan which a majority of MP’s could support (source link).
  • Nigel Farrage, the former UKIP leader, told Brexit supporters to prepare for another referendum (source link).

Sunday 16 December 2018

  • Theresa May has condemned comments made by the former prime minister, Tony Blair, who has called for another referendum. Mrs May accused Mr Blair of undermining the Brexit talks and said the comments by Mr Blair were an “insult to the office he once held”. She stated that MP’s could not abdicate their responsibility to deliver Brexit by holding another poll (source link). 
  • International trade secretary Liam Fox has said Parliament might have to decide what to do next if the prime minister’s Brexit deal is rejected by MP’s. Mr Fox admitted that the Brexit deal was unlikely to pass through Parliament unless issues over the controversial backstop were resolved. One option suggested by Mr Fox was to give MP’s a free vote (source link).   

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