Political and business leaders have slammed the UK government’s inability to broker a Brexit divorce deal, with political insiders revealing PM Theresa May could resign within months.
News Corp Australia NetworkFebruary 13, 20198:29am
The Leader of the UK Green Party has hit out at British Prime Minister Theresa May, calling for a second referendum as Brexit chaos grips the country.
Caroline Lucas took to Twitter to slam Mrs May over her attempts to negotiate another Brexit divorce agreement with the European Union, and hold another “meaningless vote” in two weeks.
“6 weeks left on #Brexit clock and all the PM has to offer is another meaningless vote in 2 weeks,” Ms Lucas tweeted.
“This isn’t a strategy – it’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over & over again and expecting a different result.
“Only way to resolve this crisis is with a #PeoplesVote”
6 weeks left on #Brexit clock and all the PM has to offer is another meaningless vote in 2 weeks.This isn’t a strategy – it’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over & over again and expecting a different result.
A YouGov poll in early January showed 46 per cent of Brits would now vote to remain in the European Union, while 39 per cent would vote to leave.
It comes amid reports companies plan to leave the UK post-Brexit.
Australia’s Commonwealth Bank plans to base about 50 staff in Amsterdam while also applying for a banking licence there, while UBS will move to Germany for its EU headquarters.
The Guardian recently reported the Dutch government was discussing with 250 firms about plans to move their operations to the Netherlands before the Brexit date.
Bank of England chief Mark Carney warned that leaving the EU without a transition deal “would be an economic shock for this country”, and said Brexit was an “acid test” of the globalised economy.
MAY’S PLAN TO BLOCK ‘ENEMY’
British Prime Minister Theresa May is preparing to resign as PM this summer so she can influence who succeeds her, Cabinet ministers now believe.
Under the suspected plan, Mrs May would call time on her Prime Ministership shortly after finally delivering Brexit, The Sun reports.
She will then set out a timetable for a new Tory leadership contest to end at the party’s annual conference in October.
At least two senior figures in the Cabinet have come to that conclusion from hints the PM has personally given them, The Sun was told.
Mrs May’s thinking, it is suspected, is that by going at a time of her own choosing and in a position of relative strength, she will be able to have some say over who the next Tory leader will be.
Her move will widely be seen as a plan to stop Boris Johnson, her long standing enemy, who wants a significantly different future trade deal with the EU with fewer links to Brussels.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, a confidante of Mrs May’s for years, is one of the senior ministers that the PM has given the hints to.
A senior Tory source said: “Liam is convinced she’ll go this summer. He says everything the PM has told him suggests that.
“She’s determined to ensure the right person follows her, and she’ll have no say at all if it gets to the stage of forcing her out.”
Business Secretary Greg Clark has also told friends he expects Mrs May will voluntarily stand down this year.
His allies point out another telltale sign that the PM has shown little interest in creating a post-Brexit domestic agenda for the next two years since the failed coup to oust her in December.
Then, Mrs May was forced to announce she will not fight the 2022 general election as Tory leader – meaning she must pave way for a successor to bed in by 2021 at the latest.
But another close ally of Mrs May’s in No. 10 insists she has given no private indication at all on when she intends to go.
The senior No. 10 source said: “The only person who will know Theresa’s real thinking on when she’ll step down is her husband Philip.
“She won’t share it with anyone else, not us or any Cabinet minister.”
MAY CALLS FOR MORE TIME ON BREXIT TALKS
Mrs May urged restive politicians to hold their nerve and give her more time to rework a Brexit divorce agreement with the European Union.
With Britain’s departure from the bloc just 45 days away, Mrs May tried to avert a rebellion on Thursday when parliament votes again on Brexit by promising another series of votes two weeks later.
That date, however, is just a month before the UK is due to leave the EU on March 29.
Some politicians want to use Thursday’s votes to impose conditions on Mrs May’s Conservative government in an attempt to rule out a cliff-edge “no deal” Brexit that would see Britain crash out of the EU without a framework for smooth future relations.
Mrs May sought to buy time, telling politicians they would get another chance to alter her course on February 27 if she had not secured changes to the Brexit deal by then.
“We must agree a deal that this House can support and that is what I am working to achieve,” she told the House of Commons in an update on Brexit negotiations. “The talks are at a crucial stage,” Mrs May added. “We now all need to hold our nerve to get the changes this House requires and deliver Brexit on time.”
But the opposition was having none of this.
“Our country is facing the biggest crisis in a generation, and yet the prime minister continues to recklessly run down the clock,” said Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Parliament last month rejected Mrs May’s Brexit deal with the EU, in part over a contentious plan to keep a seamless border between the UK’s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland after Brexit.
The measure, known as the backstop, is a safeguard that would keep the UK in a customs union with the EU and removes the need for checks along the border until a permanent new trading relationship is in place.
Pro-Brexit British politicians fear it could trap the UK in regulatory lock-step with the EU, unable to strike new trade deals around the world.
Mrs May and other Cabinet ministers are holding talks with senior EU officials in an attempt to add a time limit or an exit clause to the backstop. But EU leaders insist the legally binding withdrawal agreement can’t be changed.
Chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Monday that “something has to give” on the British side to secure an orderly Brexit.
Mrs May has also held talks with Labour, the UK’s main opposition party, which says it could support a Brexit deal if the government committed to seeking a close relationship with the EU after Britain leaves. But any such move would cost Mrs May the support of a big chunk of her Conservative Party.
The political impasse leaves Britain lurching toward a chaotic no-deal departure that could be costly for businesses and ordinary people in both the UK and the EU.
Mrs May’s political opponents accuse the government of deliberately wasting time until politicians face a last-minute choice between her deal and no deal.
Mr Corbyn said Mrs May “is playing for time and playing with people’s jobs, our economic security and the future of our industry.”
House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, who is in charge of the parliamentary timetable, denied the government was wasting time.
She said Mrs May would bring her deal back to parliament for a vote “as soon as the issue around the backstop has been sorted out.”
“It is a negotiation. It’s not possible to predict the future,” she told the BBC.
Uncertainty about what trade relationship Britain will have with the bloc after Brexit is weighing on the UK economy.
Figures released on Monday showed Britain’s economy slowed last year to its joint-slowest annual rate since 2009, with business investment declining for four straight quarters.