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Japan voices concern over further Brexit uncertainty after vote to delay

16 March 2019

MPs in the House of Commons carried the government motion to delay the European Union leave date - which had been set for March 29 - 412 votes to 202.

The debate on the proposal is expected to take place before a debate on a government motion which says Mrs May will seek a short extension to article 50 if MPs vote through the withdrawal agreement by March 20 (next Wednesday, just before an European Union summit). But there will probably be a longer delay if they reject the agreement.

The PM warned this could lead to a very lengthy delay - and Britain could end up having to stage European elections in May.

The Prime Minister is set to bring her Brexit deal back to the Commons for a third meaningful vote next week, and Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has sought to provide further legal assurances about the Irish backstop.

It will represent the first time MPs have ever voted on such a proposal.

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"So it'll either be a no-deal now, or a change of plan from London, of which we see no sign at the moment", the official added.

There were hints yesterday that the Northern Irish DUP, which props up her majority in the Commons, could finally swing behind the agreement.

Brexit supporters say that, in the longer term, it would let Britain forge trade deals across the world and thrive.

It means that the United Kingdom will ask for an extension to Article 50 until 30 June if Theresa May's deal is approved by 20 March.

May has said if she fails next week, she will seek a longer extension to reconsider the position.

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Last night, MPs voted on a government amended motion ruling out a no deal Brexit.

Earlier, Mrs May narrowly survived a bid by the Parliament to wrestle control of the Brexit process from her Government. The prime minister got some reassurances from European Union leaders on Monday night that this wouldn't occur, but the UK's attorney general said Tuesday that the possibility of the backstop becoming permanent had not been eliminated. Even the Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay joined the rebels - moments after he had summed up the government's case for a postponement.

It has already been rejected twice, but the margin - while still considerable - was smaller the second time.

Ms Peacock resigned as a Labour whip, saying she wanted to "respect the result of the 2016 vote" and her constituents would expect her to "honour that promise".

Even if the deadline is unanimously agreed, the Prime Minister will still need to get a deal through the Houses of Commons, which is now divided on the matter of the Irish back-stop.

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Parliament on Thursday overwhelmingly failed to approve an amendment calling for a second Brexit referendum.

A UK-based pressure group called Take A Break From Brexit is campaigning for just that. Most opposition Labour lawmakers did not back the measure and even campaigners for a so-called People's Vote said the time was not yet right for Parliament to vote on the matter.

"I had voted against the earlier Spelman amendment during the day which its own author tried to withdraw, believing the main Government motion was more powerful".

If she succeeds, she will go to Brussels next Thursday to request a short delay to a date no later than June 30, to give herself time to pass legislative changes necessarily for a smooth and orderly Brexit.

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Japan voices concern over further Brexit uncertainty after vote to delay