Downing Street confirms vote on Brexit deal will not happen until 2019

Posted On: 
13th December 2018

MPs will not get a chance to vote on Theresa May's Brexit deal until after Christmas, Downing Street has confirmed.

Theresa May arriving at the EU Council in Brussels.
Credit: 
PA Images

Confirming that Theresa May's negotiations with fellow EU leaders remain deadlocked, a spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said the meaningful vote will not take place until the Commons returns from the Christmas break on 7 January but before 21 January.

The announcement will infuriate Labour and the Lib Dems, both of whom have demanded that MPs be given the chance to finally vote on the deal next week, before Parliament rises on 20 December.

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Mrs May had initially planned to hold the vote on 11 December, but announced a delay after being warned that she faced a humiliating defeat.

The Prime Minister has since begun a frantic round of talks with EU leaders in an attempt to win "legally-binding" assurances on the Northern Irish backstop, which has angered Tory Brexiteers and the DUP.

At the European Council meeting going on in Brussels, European heads of government have insisted that the legally-binding withdrawal agreement will not be re-opened.

Mrs May will make a personal plea to them later this evening, but has scrapped plans to attend a dinner with all EU leaders tonight.

Her spokeswoman said: "I can confirm the meaningful vote will not take place before Christmas, but it will happen as soon as possible when the House returns and obviously before 21 January."

Lib Dem Brexit spokesman Tom Brake had earlier called for Parliament's Christmas recess to be cancelled if the vote did not take place before then.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had demanded an end to the "dither and delay" and for the vote to take place next week.

He said: "People and businesses need certainty. The Prime Minister should put her deal before Parliament next week in our country’s interest.

“She has admitted her deal is likely to be defeated by a significant margin. There is no time to waste, and parliament must take back control.”

Labour MP Alex Sobel, of the pro-EU campaign group Best for Britain, said: "The Government hope that they can play for more time and that will solve everything. Sadly this bad deal is bad now and it will be a bad deal in January.

"Brexit has not cancelled Christmas. The Government can kick this can as much as they want but soon, we are going to run out of road.

"The Government aren't stuck between a rock and a hard place but between the backstop and the DUP."