Last night, the MPs who are against to a ‘no deal’ Brexit drew first blood ahead of a momentous week for the EU withdrawal plans of the UK government.
Around 20 Tory MPs voted with the Labour Party to restrict the ability of the chancellor to reduce or increase taxes in a ‘no deal’ scenario without the consent of the Parliament.
The said move could severely tie the hands of the government in taking measures to deal with any economic headwind that is caused by leaving the European Union without an agreement – therefore making the possibility of a no-deal Brexit even more unattractive.
Tory Brexiters and Downing Street played down the significance of the defeat, however, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, stated: “This vote is an important step to prevent a no deal Brexit.”
He added: “It shows that there is no majority in Parliament, the Cabinet or the country for crashing out of the EU without an agreement. That is why we are taking every opportunity possible in Parliament to prevent no deal.”
Corbyn concluded: “Theresa May must now rule out no deal once and for all.”
The UK government lost the vote by 296 votes to 303, with six former cabinet ministers – Michael Fallon, Ken Clarke, Dominic Grieve, Justine Greening, Nicky Morgan, and Oliver Letwin – defying the orders of the party and taking the side of the Labour Party.
During a speech before the vote, the Official Spokesperson of the Prime Minister poured cold water on the suggestions that the changes in the amendment to the Budget would have a dramatic effect on the government.
He stated: “The amendment is not desirable but the effect of the amendment on no deal preparations would be inconvenience rather than anything more significant.”
Sir Bernard Jenkin, a veteran Brexiter described it as “trivial.”
PM May’s defeat came the day before MPs are scheduled to resume the debate on the Brexit deal of Theresa May, with a vote set on Tuesday, the 15th of January.
Last month, the Prime Minister pulled the vote on her plan amidst the widespread opposition to a backstop proposal which would see the United Kingdom follow the customs union rules of the European Union until a trade deal can be implemented.
Over 100 Tories promised to join with Labour to defeat May’s Brexit deal, provoking her to go back to Brussels to request guarantees that the backstop would only ever be a temporary measure.
The leaders of the European Union have repeatedly claimed that they are not ready to reopen the agreement, prompting some questions over whether any assurances that will be given will have legal weight.
Leo Varadkar, the Irish Prime Minister, attempted to offer PM May an olive branch yesterday, stating: “We don’t want to trap the UK into anything – we want to get on to the talks about the future relationship right away.”
He added: “I think it’s those kind of assurances we are happy to give.”