Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

European Union countries preparing for chaotic 'no-deal' Brexit

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Jeannette Daniel | 19 January, 2019, 03:04

After the British Parliament overwhelmingly rejected British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit divorce deal this week, other governments are bracing for chaos, too.

He accused the government of being "consumed" by Brexit while ignoring vital issues including "cash-starved schools, the NHS at breaking point, rising bills and unaffordable houses".

Britain's political chaos has spurred European Union nations to step up preparations for a disorderly British exit.

Corbyn said May's crushing defeat in parliament on Tuesday "has shredded the last vestiges" of her authority. "We will set out on a confidence motion, including that of a public vote". "Why?" Tony Blair, former Labour PM, said on a radio interview: "If in a moment of national crisis, the prime minister asks the leader of the opposition to go and talk, of course he should".

The Government confirmed that May will meet a Monday deadline to publish a Brexit Plan B, and that lawmakers will have a full day to debate it - and, crucially, amend it - on Jan 29.

And Labour MP Luciana Berger, a member of the People's Vote campaign for another referendum, said: "After the vote of confidence was defeated, we now know a general election is off the table and any chance of Labour negotiating its own Brexit deal has gone".

May claimed to be listening, but with such a wide range of views on Britain's future, she can't please all of them.

Cabinet colleagues are to meet senior opposition politicians, but opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has refused to negotiate unless a no-deal Brexit is ruled out.

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He said Mrs May has to "ditch the red lines and get serious" about proposals for the future to stop the country "hurtling towards a cliff edge".

He was speaking yesterday as his party leader blasted as a "stunt" Mrs May's offer of cross-party talks over the stalemate at Westminster.

And a transcript of the call, obtained by the Daily Telegraph, recorded that the Chancellor said an amendment expected to be tabled by Tory backbenchers including Nick Boles on Monday could pave the way for Parliament to vote to "rescind" Article 50.

Mr Corbyn reiterated Labour's preference for a general election and a Brexit deal on its terms, including a permanent customs union, close links to the single market and protections for workers and the environment.

As Britain flounders, the 27 other European Union countries have stood firm, saying they won't renegotiate the withdrawal agreement and insisting that the British Government and its lawmakers need to decide what they want to do.

An EU official will now visit all 27 capitals to co-ordinate no-deal plans.

"We are taking this very seriously now as the possibility of a no-deal Brexit is becoming more possible after Tuesday night", said European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas.

This week the Prime Minister invited him to talks about the way forward in the Brexit impasse. France is spending 50 million euros (US$57 million) to beef up security at airports and the Eurotunnel and hiring hundreds of extra customs officers.

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