PM Theresa May faces challenge despite securing key Brexit changes

PM Theresa May faces challenge despite securing key Brexit changes

A favourable vote would clear the way for Britain to leave the European Union on March 29 - almost three years after Britain backed withdrawal from the bloc in a referendum.

"To win today's vote, May needs to persuade 116 of the 230 MPs who voted against her last time to change their minds - a very tall order".

The Attorney General said additions to the Brexit deal secured by the Prime Minister in last-minute talks with the European Union on Monday night "reduce the risk" of the insurance policy for the Irish border in the vent that Brussels acts with "bad faith or want of best endeavours" in negotiations on a future trade deal.

All eyes turned Tuesday to UK Attorney General Geoffrey Cox - a respected lawyer from Mrs May's Conservative party tasked with providing the government with independent legal advice. Even if they abstain from voting, the deal is likely to be defeated because all of the opposition parties also oppose it.

But crucially he added that "the legal risk remains unchanged" that the United Kingdom would have no legal means of exiting without European Union agreement.

The main sticking point is the so-called Irish border backstop, an insurance policy aimed at avoiding controls on the border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland after Brexit.

But Brussels has said it is essential for preserving the bloc's external border after Brexit.

Parliament was expected to vote Wednesday on whether to push back the Brexit deadline or go forward without a deal on March 29.

Senior Conservative Leaver John Whittingdale told the Commons Brexit Committee that the Attorney General's advice was "pretty terminal" for Mrs May's plan.

However, he said the situation was unchanged if a deal that supersedes the backstop can not be reached "through no such demonstrable failure of either party".

Will Theresa May resign and will she be able to get her Brexit deal through Parliament?

May traveled to Strasbourg, France, Monday to work out changes to the agreement with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

After two-and-a-half years of haggling since the 2016 Brexit referendum, Juncker cautioned this was the last chance for Britain.

Another defeat on Tuesday would tee up additional votes on the way ahead.

That option is fraught with economic dangers and is backed only by hardcore proponents of the divorce.

"If there is no support for the Withdrawal Agreement tomorrow, perhaps there is no support for Brexit at all", he suggested, implicitly warning Brexiteer dreams may be thwarted by pro-Europeans in parliament.

The other 27 nations would need to back the extension unanimously and decide how long it should be.

Any postponement may have to be short-lived.

He was responding to Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow, who had tweeted: "A Lawyer contact tells me that the legal world is aware that the Attorney General said NO last night to the validity of Mrs May's "new European Union deal"...he been told to go away and find a way to say YES: A cohort of lawyers has been summoned".

"One door has closed but other possibilities have opened up and markets are hopeful that Wednesday's vote on a no-deal Brexit will suffer a big defeat", said Timothy Graf, head of macro strategy at State Street Global Advisors in London.



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