Parliament to Vote on May's Deal on December 11: Brexit Update

(Bloomberg) -- Theresa May is launching a national campaign to persuade skeptical politicians and voters to back her deal but her Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay says it will be “challenging” to get it through Parliament when the House of Commons votes next month.

Key Developments:

  • May’s chief of staff will brief Labour MPs on Monday night to persuade them to defy their leader Jeremy Corbyn and back her deal
  • Parliament will vote on Brexit deal on Dec. 11 after five days of debate
  • May defends her deal to a hostile Parliament


Dec. 11 Date Set for Parliament’s Meaningful Vote (5.20 p.m.)

Chief Whip Julian Smith, who is in charge of getting members of parliament to vote for May’s Brexit deal, wrote to Tory colleagues to tell them the crunch vote is set for Dec. 11 after five days of debate.
May later confirmed the date and told the Commons that she’s "looking forward" to the day. Her claim came after more than two hours of criticism of her agreement, with few voices raised in support.

Government Pushes Back Against Brexit TV Debate (4.50 p.m.)

There have been a lot of questions in Parliament about the idea that May might do a television debate with Jeremy Corbyn to defend her deal. This seemed to be shot down by a U.K. official, though, who, speaking on condition of anonymity, said simply that May would be making the case, and pointed out that the prime minister regularly debates with Corbyn.


U.K. Will Owe EU Money Even if No Deal (4.40 p.m.)

May was tackled over the exit payment again by Jacob Rees-Mogg, chair of the pro-Brexit European Research Group of Tory lawmakers.
He said a House of Lords committee found that the U.K. will legally owe nothing to the EU if there’s no deal.
“What are we buying with 39 billion pounds of taxpayers’ money?” Rees-Mogg asked.
May suggested her own legal advice disagreed and that there are obligations on Britain to make payments under any circumstances.

‘Dead as a Dodo’ - Blue-on-Blue Assault on Deal (4.30 p.m.)

Conservative lawmaker Mark Francois, who wants May to step down as leader of the Conservative Party, called her deal a surrender. "No sooner is the ink dry than the Spanish are after Gibraltar and the French are after our fish," he said.
"The prime minister and the whole House knows the mathematics. The deal will never get through. And even if it did -- which it won’t -- the DUP on who we rely for a majority, have said they will review the confidence and supply agreement. So it’s as dead as a dodo.”

May Says U.K. Must Pay What it Owes (4.10 p.m.)

May seemed to hint that she’s willing to hand over the full Brexit payment, regardless of what kind of future trade terms are negotiated in the next two years.
Former Brexit Secretary David Davis asked May why she won’t play hardball with the EU and refuse to pay the exit bill of 39 billion pounds unless Britain gets a good trade deal.
In the past, ministers have insisted “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” -- which has been seen as a heavy hint that the money will depend on getting a good future trade accord. The EU has always insisted that the payment was about Britain’s commitments and not linked to future arrangements.
Today May told Davis the 39 billion arose directly because of the U.K.’s “legal obligations” and Britain is a country that is a reliable partner and that will pay what it owes.
It’s a risky argument for May, especially when she’s trying to persuade pro-Brexit Tories to vote through her deal. She needs them to believe the money they authorize her to pay will be well spent.

Corbyn Accuses May of ‘National Self Harm’ (3:56 p.m.)

Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn didn’t pull any punches in his response to the Prime Minister’s statement. He said that plowing on with her Brexit deal would be “an act of national self harm” and accused May of abandoning her red lines and losing the support of the country.

“Many young people and others see opportunities being taken away from them,” he said. “For the good of the nation, the house has very little choice but to reject this deal.”

May Hits Back At Macron in Fish Fight (3.51 p.m.)

May had a dig at French President Emmanuel Macron, who warned on Sunday that his price for giving the U.K. a good future trade deal in the next phase of talks will be getting access to British waters for French fishing businesses.
The premier told lawmakers that EU leaders had tried repeatedly to link fishing rights to Britain’s access to EU markets during the negotiations so far, and had failed.
“It is no surprise some are already trying to lay down markers again for the future relationship,” May said. “But they should be getting used to the answer by now: it is not going to happen.”

Glum Ministers Signal Battles Ahead for May Plan (3.40 p.m.)

Behind Theresa May as she started addressing lawmakers in the House of Commons on Monday afternoon the Cabinet appeared glum. Not one cracked a smile as the premier read out her statement and some sat with their arms defensively folded. They will have to sell her deal to the public and their rebellious Tory lawmaker colleagues.

May Tells Ministers They’ll Have to Sell Deal (1.39 p.m.)

The PM briefed her Cabinet on plans for the campaign to win support for her exit deal at a meeting on Monday morning, according to a person familiar with the matter who declined to be named. She said a Cabinet minister will be sent out every morning over the next two weeks, to describe how the Brexit package will work for them and their people affected by their ministerial brief.

May Sends Her Deputy to Woo Labour MPs (1.21 p.m.)

May’s de facto deputy David Lidington and her chief of staff Gavin Barwell will brief Labour MPs on her deal at a meeting in Westminster at 8 p.m. on Monday. She needs all the votes she can get in order for Parliament to approve her agreement in a vote expected in mid-December.

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