Cabinet Meets as May Considers Deadline Extension: Brexit Update

(Bloomberg) --

Theresa May chairs a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday where she’s expected to discuss the possibility of extending Brexit day to avoid a no-deal exit. The shift in her approach is designed to head off a revolt in her government and a Parliamentary defeat. It could even help her get the divorce deal over the line.

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Key Developments:

May to Pledge March 12 Vote on Extension: Telegraph (11:30 a.m.)

Telegraph reporter Steven Swinford says on Twitter May has told Cabinet that the plan is to pledge two votes on March 12 if her deal hasn’t been passed. One will be on no-deal and the other on an extension. The government will commit to those votes in a motion on Wednesday and Tories will be told to back it, Swinford says.

Cox and Hunt Leave Cabinet Meeting (11:20 a.m.)

Cabinet ministers have started leaving the meeting in Downing Street. Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, who is due in Brussels for negotiations, has left, as has Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who’s due in Parliament. The meeting continues.

Rebel Ministers Confident May Will Stop No Deal (10:55 a.m.)

On Monday a group of 25 Cabinet ministers, junior ministers and a couple of government aides met in Parliament to plot how to force May to take a no-deal Brexit off the table.

According to a minister in the room, the group discussed whether they should all resign or stay inside the government and vote against May, forcing her to fire them.

The minister, who asked not to be named, said they were confident May will provide a clear promise to Parliament on Tuesday to stop the U.K. leaving the EU with no deal on March 29. Another minister agreed that May had decided the U.K. can’t be allowed to crash out of the EU next month.

DUP’s Foster Says Extension Doesn’t Help (10:30 a.m.)

Arlene Foster, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party whose support May needs to govern, said extending the Brexit day deadline won’t help solve the difficulties and she plans to tell the prime minister that later on Tuesday.

"I don’t think an extension is going to solve any of the issues that are already there. Often in negotiations you need that compression of time to come to a deal; that’s our experience. I’m sure that’s the case here too,’’ she told Bloomberg in an interview.

Foster reiterated that May needs to bring back from Brussels legally binding changes to the Irish border backstop, which the Northern Irish party has said is unacceptable.

"She knows what is needed. That’s the only majority there is in the House of Commons,’’ Foster said. "It’s up to the prime minister to satisfy the House of Commons that she has delivered on that motion.’’

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