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Lib Dems demand MPs' Christmas holiday be scrapped if Brexit vote delayed until 2019

Lib Dems demand MPs' Christmas holiday be scrapped if Brexit vote delayed until 2019
3 min read

Parliament's Christmas recess should be scrapped if the vote on Theresa May's Brexit deal is delayed until 2019, the Lib Dems have said.

The party said it would be "an insult to the British people" if MPs went on holiday without the issue finally being resolved.

Tom Brake, the Lib Dems' Brexit spokesman, spoke out after Commons leader Andrea Leadsom all-but confirmed there will be no meaningful vote before Parliament rises for a two-week Christmas break on 20 December.

He said: "At a time of so much uncertainty caused by this Brexit mess, it is an insult to the British people that Theresa May is happy for MPs to go on holiday without voting on the biggest issue in generations. People deserve better, and the Liberal Democrats demand better.

"Liberal Democrats do not believe Parliament should rise for the Christmas recess until Theresa May does what the people expect and give MPs a vote on her deal.

"Now more than ever MPs should be working to help their constituents, not least by giving them a final say on Brexit with the option to remain in the EU."

The Prime Minister cancelled the meaningful vote, which had been due to take place on Tuesday, after realising she was heading for a humiliating defeat.

She has now re-started negotiations with the EU in an attempt to get "reassurances" that the UK cannot be trapped in the Northern Ireland backstop indefinitely.

Attending the EU Council in Brussels today, Mrs May admitted that a breakthrough in the talks was not imminent, as European leaders insisted the legally-binding withdrawal agreement will not be re-opened.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: "I do not see that this withdrawal agreement can be changed.

"We can discuss whether there should be additional assurances, but here the 27 member states will act very much in common and make their interests very clear."

French president Emmanuel Macron said "one cannot reopen a legal agreement", while Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettel said: "We won’t be able to do genuine changes. Renegotiating will be very, very hard, but if we need to do precisions or help Theresa May - I really want to help her."

And Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar even suggested the Government cancel Article 50 to avoid crashing out of the EU without a deal.

He said: "Ultimately it is within the gift of UK government and the UK Parliament to take the threat of no-deal off the table.

"It is possible, if the UK decides, to revoke Article 50 or, if that's a step too far, to seek an extension to Article 50 so that the UK Parliament has more time to come together to decide what they would like the outcome to be."

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