Brexit: A bilateral treaty with Ireland and other updates

FILE PHOTO: Anti-Brexit demonstrators wave flags outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, November 13, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

The Sunday Times newspaper is reporting that Prime Minister Theresa May is looking to pursue a bilateral treaty with the Irish government.

It is understood that the treaty, which is aimed at the Irish government, would be an attempt at pushing the Brexit deal through the UK Parliament.

According to Mrs May’s aides, a potential brokered deal with Dublin would help deal with the considerable opposition that had grown over the withdrawal agreement.

Speaking in response to the story, Heiko Maas, the German Foreign Minister expressed that he wasn’t sure what fruit such talks would bare.

Talking to German Broadcaster ZDF, Maas said, ‘We have to negotiate and also agree a withdrawal agreement with Britain. It is a bit of a mystery to me what the British government wants to negotiate with Dublin or what sort of an additional agreement it should be’.

He added that, ‘It wouldn’t have any effect on what was agreed with the [European] Commission’.

The Sunday Times has since updated its story to say that the Irish government was interested and her proposals were, ‘not something we would entertain.’

Simon Coveney, the Irish Prime Minister said, ‘I can assure you that the Irish government’s commitment to the entire withdrawal agreement is absolute, including the backstop to ensure, no matter what, an open border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the Good Friday Agreement, are protected.’

Extremely concerning

The Prime Minister’s office has said that it finds suggestions that Conservative politicians are looking to form a coup de tat over the Brexit process, ‘extremely concerning’.

The UK media is reporting that a group of MPs is planning to put forward a motion this coming week, which will look to suspend the Brexit withdrawal process under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Another group is understood to be preparing an amendment that will prevent the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal.

According to Downing Street spokesperson,  ‘The British public voted to leave the European Union, and it is vital that elected politicians deliver upon that verdict,’

They added that, ‘Any attempt to remove the government’s power to meet the legal conditions of an orderly exit at this moment of historic significance is extremely concerning.’

This news comes as the Prime Minister prepares to present the Parliament with the way forward since the crushing defeat of her Brexit withdrawal deal and subsequent ‘cross party’ discussions.

Suspending Brexit?

According to the Guardian, there are a number of MPs across the Parliament who are keen to push for the extension of Article 50.

They report that Conservative MP Nick Boles and Labour MP Yvette Cooper are leading efforts to put forward an amendment that changes the House of Commons rules on timetabling.

If successful, this could result in the next possible step being the extension of Article 50, and the finding of a deal becoming a top priority to Parliamentary business.

Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general, has gone further, proposing that the change of timetable needs the support of 300 MPs, from five different parties and it must include over 10 Conservative MPs.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show this morning, Labour MP Hilary Benn said the blocking of a No-Deal was imperative at this time.

‘We are facing a national crisis, and there are many MPs in the House of Commons whose first priority is to ensure that we do not leave without a deal and therefore finding ways when we come to table amendments this week and debate on 29 January how we stop that.’, he said.

Speaking on a fellow UK politics show, Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Conservative MP Nicky Morgan also chanted the call for a suspension of the Brexit until a deal could be done.

‘The bill I’ve put my name to does say that if the government can’t get an agreement in place then the minister would have to apply to say to Brussels, right, we need to suspend article 50 for a period of time so that we can build a consensus and get ourselves more prepared for exit,’, she said.

‘We’re going to find out more I think this week, certainly next week, about the prime minister’s plan B, and then I think we’ll all have to make decisions as MPs about what’s in the national interest.’, she added.