UK: Cross-party moves escalate to prevent Brexit and secure second referendum
31 December 2018
Hostilities continued during parliamentary recess over Britain’s scheduled exit from the European Union (EU) at the end of March.
A vote is to be held the week of January 14 on Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal. She refused to hold a vote earlier this month as she knew it would be voted down. In an attempt to placate opposition to the deal from both Remain and Leave factions in her own party, May said she would seek further concessions, particularly on the post-Brexit arrangements regarding the Northern Ireland border with the Republic of Ireland, an EU member.
But May has secured no further concessions ahead of the January vote, with European Council President Donald Tusk stating that there is “no mandate to organise further negotiations” on a deal that took over two years to finalise. The Financial Times reported Sunday, “There have been no formal EU-UK Brexit negotiations since the [EU] summit ended in acrimony on December 13, with EU diplomats on holiday over the Christmas and New Year break.”
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn denounced May for delaying a vote until the last minute to bounce parliament into supporting her Brexit deal as the only option to avoiding a chaotic and economically damaging no-deal Brexit. Corbyn, who was an opponent of EU membership for decades, supported Remain in the 2016 referendum. He has made a series of concessions to the party’s pro-EU wing ever since, but this has done nothing to placate the Blairites who are seeking a reversal of the 2016 Leave vote through a second referendum, or “People’s Vote.”
Tensions within Labour escalated again following an op-ed piece Corbyn published in the…