Brexit live: Debate continues as MPs prepare to vote on blocking no deal

The debate surrounding Brexit continues on Wednesday, after Prime Minister Theresa May suffered another defeat in the Commons.

MPs voted by 391 to 242 against the PM’s Withdrawal Agreement.

Members return to the Commons on Wednesday to vote on whether they are willing for the UK to leave the EU without a deal on March 29.

Here’s the latest:

Deal remains ‘only available treaty’

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, told the European Parliament that the Withdrawal Agreement reached last November “is and will remain the only available treaty”.

In agreeing to draw up documents clarifying the terms of the Agreement in Strasbourg on Monday, “we went as far as we possibly could in order to help the UK Government get the support of the House of Commons”, said Mr Barnier.

Mr Barnier said it was now “the responsibility of the UK” to suggest a way forward.

“They have to tell us what it is they want for their future relationship,” he told the European Parliament.

“What will their choice be, what will be the line they will take? That is the question we need a clear answer to now. That is the question that has to be answered before a decision on a possible further extension.

“Why would we extend these discussions? The discussion on Article 50 is done and dusted. We have the Withdrawal Agreement. It is there.

“That is the question asked and we are waiting for an answer to that.”

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson claimed the EU would come up with a new deal by March 29.

He told LBC Radio: “I covered a lot of EU summits, I have been to a lot of them in my time, I have seen how the EU works.

“The horses always change places in the final furlong, it’s always at five minutes to midnight that the real deal is done.

“In Brussels the real fix is always in at the end.”

Cameron: No deal a disaster

David Cameron has warned MPs that failing to rule out a no-deal Brexit would be a “disaster” for Britain.

The former Conservative prime minister said he backed Theresa May’s attempts to secure a deal despite her second overwhelming defeat in Parliament on Tuesday night.

He told Sky News: “I’ve always supported the Prime Minister in her attempts to have a close partnership deal with Europe and she continues to have my support.

“That’s the right thing to do. Obviously what needs to happen next is to rule out no deal, that would be a disaster for our country, and to seek an extension and I’m sure that’s what’s going to happen next.”

Countdown to leaving the EU
(PA Graphics)

Warning over no-deal tariff regime

A new tariff regime on EU products in the case of a no-deal Brexit will act as a “sledgehammer” to the UK economy, business has warned.

The new levies, to be imposed from the day after a March 29 Brexit if MPs vote for a no-deal withdrawal, would force up prices on EU imports including cars and many food products.

Shipping containers
(Andrew Matthews/PA)

The unilateral and temporary regime includes levies of 10.6% on European cars and trucks which had previously been free of tariffs, potentially increasing the cost of a typical family hatchback by around £1,500. Car parts would face no extra tariffs to avoid disruption to supply chains.

But tariffs will be slashed on imports from outside the EU, potentially lowering prices on goods from countries like the USA and China.

CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “This tells us everything that is wrong with a no-deal scenario.”

EU Withdrawal Agreement: how MPs voted
(PA Graphics)
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