Brexit: Parliament bids May to renegotiate the deal, Brussels rejects outright

The House of Commons voted on a string of amendments regarding the Brexit deal, on Tuesday.

The lawmakers in the house voted in favour of the amendment put forward by the Conservative MP Graham Brady by 16 votes, to replace the Irish backstop with “alternative arrangements”.    The UK Prime Minister Theresa May called on MPs to vote in favour of the amendment.

The voting resulted in a victory for her, following a crushing defeat of historic proportions two weeks ago on the same ground.

With the backing of the House, PM May has to seek a renegotiation of the agreed deal with Brussels, which is nowhere near an easy task.

On Wednesday, Michel Barnier, EU’s chief negotiator for the Brexit deal deliberations, defined the Irish backstop as “part and parcel” of the UK’s Brexit deal and asserted that it will not be renegotiated.

Most of the Conservative lawmakers have opposed “the Irish backstop”, the most controversial part of May’s voted against the Brexit deal, which would see Northern Ireland’s inclusion in the customs union to avoid a hard border between the two Irish states.

The so-called Brexiteers in the House want to see the exclusion of the Customs Union without implementing border checks for the movements of UK and EU citizens.

EU officials claim that two desires are fundamentally incompatible.

The deliberate stances poised by both the EU and the UK on avoiding a hard border in Ireland partly stem from the fear of the revival of sectarian conflicts that saw deaths of thousands in the thirty-year period from 1968 to 1998.

Besides, the EU membership of both Irish states caused an inseparably intertwined economy on the island, with an estimated 30,000 people crossing the border every day for work.

The other amendments the House of Commons voted on Tuesday include one, though not legally binding, ruling out a “no-deal Brexit”, in which case the UK would abruptly become a “third country” with substantially less access to the EU single market starting from March 29, 23:00 GMT.

On the other hand, the lawmakers rejected an amendment put forward by the Scottish National Party which called for the government to delay the March 29 Brexit date.

On Wednesday, Carolyn Fairbairn, the head of the UK’s most influential business organisation, commented on the matter saying that the parliament has shown “a consensus against no-deal”, however, “it does nothing to take no-deal off the table and it does feel like hope rather than strategy”.

Fairbairn also said that nearly all of the firms in the UK are preparing for a no-deal scenario after recent developments. She told that a plan to renegotiate the UK’s withdrawal deal “feels like a real throw of the dice”.

Proving Fairbairn’s point, came the move of the Barclays. The UK-based multinational investment bank’s shift of the €190-billion worth of assets, amounting up to 15 percent of its total assets, to Dublin was approved by the High Court.

“The design of the scheme has been based upon an assumption that there will be no favourable outcome of the current political negotiations between the UK and the EU as regards passporting or the grant of equivalence status to the UK in respect of financial services”, read the judgment of the High Court.

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