May struggles to save her Brexit deal

UK premier has been defeated in three key votes in parliament

British parliament started last week crucial debates on PM Theresa May's proposed Brexit deal with the EU before voting on it next Tuesday. For May, reaching a compromise to avoid a crushing failure is a matter of political survival. The UK premier has been defeated in three key votes in parliament as she battles to get her Brexit deal through, news wires reported later on Thursday.

May lost two House of Commons votes forcing her to publish secret government legal advice on her Brexit deal. The premier then lost a third big vote that could prove even more significant: it gives parliament the power to shape the final Brexit settlement if, as expected, May fails to get her deal approved in the Commons in a vote on 11 December.

May warned that British lawmakers had to choose approving her deal or facing an exit with no deal or even the reversal of Brexit. “There are three options: one is to leave the EU with a deal… the other two are that we leave without a deal or that we have no Brexit at all,” May told BBC radio. She said she was speaking to lawmakers about giving parliament a bigger role in whether the Northern Irish backstop arrangement would be triggered, though she gave few details.

The British parliament's vote next week on a deal on Britain's withdrawal from the EU will determine the future of the country, the chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Thursday, reminding all involved to “bear their responsibilities”. “If there is no withdrawal treaty, there is no transition, no basis of confidence that we need with the British regarding the future relationship,” Barnier told representatives from cities and regions in the EU.

Meanwhile last Tuesday, an adviser to the European Court of Justice said that Britain should be allowed to unilaterally revoke its departure notice from the EU. “Advocate General (Manuel) Campos Sanchez-Bordona proposes that the Court of Justice should declare that Article 50 … allows the unilateral revocation of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU,” the ECJ said. “That possibility continues to exist until such time as the withdrawal agreement is formally concluded,” it added, meaning Britain would have to notify the EU that it has changed its mind before Brexit day, on March 29 2019. The Advocate General emphasises that withdrawal from an international treaty, which is the reverse of treaty-making power, is by definition a unilateral act of a state party and a manifestation of its sovereignty, the court also said. A court ruling is expected at a later date. The judges usually follow the advice of their advocate generals.

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