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MPs to vote today on whether to take ‘no deal’ option off the table

Theresa May in the Commons last night Theresa May in the Commons last night
By Staff Reporter

MPs will vote later on whether to block the UK from leaving the EU without a deal after they once again rejected the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement.

Theresa May’s latest Brexit deal was defeated in the Commons on Tuesday night by 391 to 242 votes- a loss of 149 votes in scenes which Sinn Féin says displays the British government’s “absolute disregard” for Irish citizens.

MPs are expected to vote on the government motion, which says: “This House declines to approve leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement and a framework on the future relationship on 29 March.”
If no-deal is rejected, MPs will vote again on Thursday on delaying Brexit by extending Article 50 – the legal mechanism that takes the UK out of the EU.

Meanwhile, the government has announced it will cut tariffs on a range of imports from outside the EU and introduce measures which it says are designed to avoid a hard border in the north in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald reacted scathingly to the “landslide” rejection of the Withdrawal Agreement.

She said: “The British Parliament voted by a landslide to reject the Withdrawal Agreement and Theresa May’s latest proposals.

“The scenes tonight show the absolute disregard for the people of Ireland, for our rights, our economy and the Good Friday Agreement that is at the heart of the Tory Brexit agenda.

“Sinn Féin and the majority of parties across this island, know there is no good or sensible Brexit.

“The Withdrawal Agreement is imperfect but it is the only deal on offer.

“The ‘backstop’ contained is a guarantee that no hard border will be imposed on this island and protects the Good Friday Agreement.

“We are seventeen days away from Brexit and the uncertainty and confusion continues.

“A crash out Brexit would be unthinkable for the peace process, jobs, trade and to the loss of people’s rights and quality of life, particularly in border communities.

“Despite giving assurances to Theresa May the EU has made clear that the Withdrawal Agreement is not going to be reopened for negotiation.

“There is now a need to intensify planning for a no-deal crash with an imperative to ensure no return to a hard border, protections of our agreements and safeguarding the rights of citizens.”

Alliance Leader Naomi Long called for a People’s Vote on Brexit.

“For Alliance, the backstop was the bottom line to protect the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland, and we were prepared to be pragmatic towards it. But now, it seems the only paths are to see a catastrophic no deal outcome, the Government working across the House of Commons to find a softer version of Brexit, or reconsidering Brexit in its entirety,” she said.

“In the short run, taking a no deal off the table must be the immediate priority. In itself and without a clear plan, this resolves nothing. The House of Commons is good at saying what it is against, but can’t manage to give a clear answer on what it is for. But the UK is too close to the cliff-edge and every day of uncertainty sees more and more economic and social damage.

“The clearest, most coherent and most democratic route through this impasse lies with a People’s Vote, including both the Prime Minister’s deal and the Remain option. This needs to be tested in Parliament as a matter of urgency.”

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