Brexit: May pleads for MPs' support on her deal

– May said trust in politics would suffer greatly if the UK did not leave EU

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal</p> <p>LONDON (AA) – British Prime Minister Theresa May has sought to persuade U.K. lawmakers to back her Brexit deal, which will be voted in the parliament Tuesday.</p> <p>&quot;I ask MPs to consider the consequences of their actions on the faith of the British people in our democracy,&quot; May said in a speech at a factory in Stoke-on-Trent.</p> <p>&quot;Imagine if an anti-devolution House of Commons had said to the people of Scotland or Wales that despite voting in favor of a devolved legislature, parliament knew better and would overrule them. Or else force them to vote again,&quot; she said.</p> <p>May argued that if the 2016 referendum result is not implemented the democratic process will be dealt a blow.</p> <p>&quot;What if we found ourselves in a situation where parliament tried to take the U.K. out of the EU in opposition to a remain vote?&quot; she asked.</p> <p>She said: &quot;People's faith in the democratic process and their politicians would suffer catastrophic harm. We all have a duty to implement the result of the referendum.&quot;</p> <p>Warning of &quot;paralysis in parliament&quot; if the deal is voted down, May said trust in politics would suffer greatly if the U.K. did not leave the EU.</p> <p>May underlined that &quot;based on the evidence of the last week&quot;, she now believed that MPs blocking Brexit is a &quot;more likely outcome than leaving with no deal&quot;.</p> <p>May welcomed new EU assurances over the impact of the deal on Northern Ireland, saying they had &quot;legal force&quot;.</p> <p>President of the European Council Donald Tusk and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker stressed, in a letter published minutes before May’s speech, that they will try to find technical solutions to the Irish border issue that would make the backstop redundant.</p> <p>They said: “The European commission also shares your intentions for the future relationship to be in place as quickly as possible. </p> <p>“Given our joint commitment to using best endeavours to conclude before the end of 2020 a subsequent agreement, which supersedes the protocol [ie, the backstop] in whole or in part, the commission is determined to give priority in our work programme to the discussion of proposals that might replace the backstop with alternative arrangements. </p> <p>“In this context, facilitative arrangements and technologies will be considered. </p> <p>“Any arrangements which supersede the protocol are not required to replicate its provisions in any respect, provided that the underlying objectives continue to be met.”</p> <p>However, they said the withdrawal agreement can not be altered. </p> <p>“We are not in a position to agree to anything that changes or is inconsistent with the withdrawal agreement,” they said.</p> <p> </p> <p>- The vote</p> <p>Coming to the end of a road almost two-and-a-half years after British voters narrowly decided in 2016 to leave the EU, the Brexit deal reached with the EU will face a vote on Tuesday, Jan. 15, bringing the wrenching political saga to the brink of climax.</p> <p>The vote was originally planned for Dec. 11, but May postponed it for more than a month as she foresaw a heavy defeat in the House.</p> <p> </p> <p>- The numbers</p> <p>May needs the support of 320 MPs to have her deal voted through the House of Commons.</p> <p>The total number of seats in the House is 650.</p> <p>However, there are only 639 eligible votes, as Speaker John Bercow and his three deputies, as well as seven Sinn Fein MPs, will not cast ballots.</p> <p> </p> <p>- What happens if deal is rejected?</p> <p>Scenarios should May suffer a defeat next week include her resignation, vote of no confidence in government, general elections, or a public referendum on the deal.</p> <p>With two-and-a-half months left before the U.K.’s exit, the daunting option of a no-deal Brexit is also growing stronger, as EU officials have said there will be no changes to the deal no matter how parliament votes.</p> <p>The U.K. is set to leave the bloc on March 29 after more than 40 years of membership.