United Kingdom lawmakers willing to vote down Brexit deal

Howard TerryOct 11, 2018

May has 315 lawmakers and governs with a working majority of 13 thanks to a deal with the 10 lawmakers of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), though rebels in her own party say 40 of her lawmakers could vote against her deal.

The party's 10 MPs have propped up the Tory government since May lost her Commons majority in the snap general election past year. If they jump the gun at the Budget before the Withdrawal Bill votes later, they're playing very hard ball indeed - and before they can know exactly what's going on in Brussels.

Foster laid down her challenge to the prime minister just nine days before an agreement on the issue needs to be reached on the issue at the European Council summit.

The party would end its parliamentary support for the prime minister if she agrees a deal at next week's European Union summit that led to additional checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

There are usually checks on goods coming into the EU's customs territory from outside countries, but the bloc has agreed not to carry out such checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit in order to safeguard the peace process.

Sinn Fein MLA Mairtin O Muilleoir said the comments signalled a "bizarre new low" for the DUP over Brexit, adding: "Never mind the catastrophic impact on our economy and communities across Ireland, none of that matters to the DUP if there's going to be checks on lasagne crossing the Irish Sea".

The backstop arrangement is effectively an insurance policy to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland.

But, "Brexit was not our choice", Barnier said. "The reason we signed the agreement was to ensure Brexit", Mrs Foster said on October 1. Asked whether that implied her supporters are ready to "fight and die" for them, she replied: "What I meant by that is that they are deep red - they're not pink".

Without an approved deal, the United Kingdom would move from seamless trade with the rest of the European Union to customs arrangements set by the World Trade Organisation for external states with no preferential deals.

Steve Baker, Conservative MP for Wycombe, said he believed "at least 40" of his colleagues would vote against a deal along the lines the prime minister has proposed which would include this "backstop" for Northern Ireland.

The prime minister's spokesperson said government officials are in "intensive" talks with European Union negotiators in order to resolve the Irish border issue, which is the last major outstanding issue in the draft Withdrawal Agreement.

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