MEPs debate Brexit, a day after the vote in UK Parliament

A European Parliament Plenary Session has been held to debate what comes next following yesterday’s vote in the UK House of Commons.

Yesterday, the House of Commons voted against the Brexit deal that Prime Minister Theresa May had negotiated with Brussels.

May’s deal thrashed; no confidence motion debated tomorrow

You can follow the session in the link below and read our live blog of the Plenary Session debate, as it happens.

8.36 The President of the European Parliament is now opening the plenary session.

Antonio Tajani: We recognise and respect the view of the majority of the votes against the deal. We now have to interpret the vote in the right way. Its not about the forces who voted on the same wave length. We currently don’t see a no deal scenario coming but there is a negative majority not a positive majority. We trust that a consensus and a solution can be found.

We hope the UK will revisit its red-lines but the EU needs to prepare for the UK leaving without an agreement.

For now, we need to focus on the citizens living in EU and UK who will be affected. Need to closely follow the process of the Irish issue, ensuring its a flexible one.

8.40 Milania CIOT: The EU Council outlined the relationship with the EU and UK in the future. An outcome not possible without unity.

We regret the outcome in the UK and will mean serious consequences for the UK and the EU and its institutions, given the conflicting messages over the debates.

The vote outcome is not the end of the game, but renegotiation is not on the cards. The EU has to stand together and follow through with the ratification process.

EU institutions we will continue the ratification process over UK withdrawal. The responsibility of ratification stands with the UK, they need to complete the process. Timing and content is still uncertain so the EU needs to be prepared for all outcomes including No-Deal. We need to be prepared for it. It should take a greater importance.

This means more legislative work but we are confident that the EU Parliament will come up to the challenge.

8.44 Frans Timmermanns: Have to look for a way forward in wake of the vote. We do believe the negotiation between the UK and EU must do as little harm as possible.

It is our job as politicians to avoid harm but the agreement would cause harm.

We do have to be prepared for a disorganised No-deal Brexit which will have consequences for the EU.

We should continue ratification of the withdrawal agreement. It is up to the EU and UK to come up with a suitable agreement.

8.47 Michael Barnier: The House of Commons has made a ‘crystal clear’ decision in  regretting the current deal.

Right now too early to assess consequences of the vote. We respect the democratic debate in UK Parliament.

We profuoundly regret the vote and we built the withdrawal agreement together and allowing the UK to preserve a relationship with the EU.

Listening to the public statements in the House of COmmons, we regret that it made us sad, they were contradictory and misleading.

It is up to the British authorities and British government to bring things to a positive outcome by March.

The agreement we reached with UK is a good agreement but is the possible compromise. It brings legal certainty where the Brexit creates uncertainty. It protects the rights of the EU citizens in the UK.

Security and stability for Northern Ireland. This is why the backstop must remain a credible backstop.

Security for businesses in the transitional period, time to prepare. It gives us time to agree future relationship.

Whatever happens, ratification of the agreement ensures the creation of mutual trust.

Regarding the future relationship which is important for the future of the EU. If the UK chooses to shift redlines in the future. If it makes a choice to go beyond the free trade agreement, the EU will be happy to go hand in hand.

Future relationship, not simply about economics. It is alos about sectoral committees, research, fisheries, aviation, judicial and police cooperation. Also this involves Security and stability. They will always be an ally and friend in matters pertaining to defence.

We worked hard on this agreement over several months.

Future steps must be indicated by the UK parliament. An orderly withdrawal is expected. We always wanted to avoid the No-Deal.

We are only 10 weeks away from the end of March. We are fearing more than ever that there is a risk of No-Deal. We are stepping up our efforts to prevent this from the EU side. We need to speed up our efforts working with stakeholders to come up with contingency measures.

I thank you for your support.

We must be calm and ensure that there is an orderly withdrawal.


9.00 Manfred Weber: Weber explains that he is proud that the EU shows the strength of unity and that they should be proud of this.

28 countries agreement to the treaty but one said no (UK). This means that the ball is in the court of the UK. He asks the UK to be clear on intentions.

EU needs to reflect on its goals. Protecting the rights of citizens.

If the UK has further requests and renegotiations. There is no room for manoeurvre.

Says that British approach is not a good approach.

Better to reform the EU than to destroy it, he says of voters views.

9.03 Roberto Gualtieri:

We don’t know what the UK does want. We welcome the parliament’s view of not having No-Deal.

We should not water down the withdrawal. Protecting the EU and the single market, protecting EU citizen rights, are not up for renegotiation.

We need clear direction and capacity to delivery.

The majority in UK Parliament cannot delivery a positive and credible solution to Brexit.

The UK governmnt redlines made the agreement on freedoms of movement etc difficult.

Article 50 is revokable.

If extension is needed then we would not object but it must be for a clear reason. Deadlock. There needs to be a clear and responsible direction.

9.08 Syed Kamall:

Since becoming an MEP struck by the gap in perceptions of the EU by the UK.

UK seeing it as an economic area to trade.

EU has taken tough stance on negotiations and that’s good.

In Westminister see deal differently. See agreement will bind UK to EU on economic grounds. Businesses concerned that Backstop will hold them indefinitely.

Other reasons for last night result. Labour party any opportunity to seek ways to attack the Conservatives.

We find ourselves in critical stage. EU will have to wait longer.

Confidence vote expected tonight.

EU has a choice, gamble, address, or sit back and watch the outcome.

He calls on the EU to find ways to create leeway with the deal to allow the Prime Minister to create a way to pass the agreement.

9.14 Guy Verhofstadt:

‘Let’s be honest.’

I’m not surprised by this. UK Parliament has long history of going against EU proposals; freedom of movement for example.

We need a majority in favour in the House of COmmons, majority in the interests of Britain.

It can be achieved if all the political parties put the interests of Britain before their party politics.

Legitimate; that PM wants to stay PM, Scotland wants to be independent.

Brexit started as catfight in the UK conservative party. Now it is existential problem in the UK.

I think it is time now for sake of Britain. it is time for cross party cooperation in the UK.

We from EU are ready for deeper future relationship with the UK. We are ready to fully engage in this.

9.20 Phillipe Lamberts:

We in EU Parliament stand behind the agreement.

We are encouraged that amendment that the UK trying to get out of Good Friday Agreement was quashed. Shows that it will be honoured.

No deal scenario will happen if no positive majority can be found.

If the House of Commons unable to find majority, the alternative is to ask the UK people to have choice in whether there should the current agreement or remain in the EU.

Discussions about economy and the citizens.

They are held hostage by the chaos.

9.24 Martina Anderson:

Deal cannot be watered down or renegotiated.

No positive resolution for Northern Ireland has ever come from Westminister.

Ireland needs contingency plan to uphold of the Good Friday Agreement.

9.27 Nigel Farage:

Criticises Theresa May for her agreement with Michel Barnier.

Mr Barnier you have got the UK where you want it.

Mr Timmermanns we leave with no harm, well what about the price of freedom, Farage says.

If we finish up with extnesion on Article 50 and we will end up fighting in the next EU elections.

British people if pushed too far, a lion that will fight back at the EU.

9.31 Gerard Batten:

Charade, that the UK can’t be leave without a deal.

There is not going to be a deal. Remainers don’t want to leave, Leavers don’t feel that they will ever leave.

Agrees with Verhofstadt about breaking deadlock. Needs to be Plan B.

Repeal the 1974 the EU Communities Act. Leave under the UK law.

Theresa May should resign and hand over to someone who can ensure the UK leaves.

Stop asking, should be telling the EU how the UK will leave.

9.34 Diane Dodds:

MPs acted on the behalf of the UK people. Protected the people and the single market, UK’s right to existence outside the EU.

It is the legal position that UK will be leaving in March, that is legally clear.

We in DUP don’t want hard border but intrasignecne ensures that hard border becomes likely.

All sides that no hard border under any scenario. We should be redirecting our efforts.

9.36 Elmar Brok:

EU sticking together, but the UK is not united.

Yesterday a coalition of No, Brexiters and Remainers united together but only on the deal.

Far to late for part political fights and personal ambitions in the UK parliament. Need to move beyond it.

9.38 Josef Weidenholzer:

Took 900 days for the UK to come to a meaningful vote.

Only one thing is certain, running out of time. The UK is sleepwalking but the vote should be a walk up call.

Evident that British Conservatism has failed.

Its really a moment for responsible action in the interest of the many not the few.

We as the EU 27 who were united and need to help break the deadlock.

The UK has made contribution to EU project in last 40 years.

We need a clear signal and a people’s vote could be the answer.

Any decision to remain will be warmly welcomed.

Letter to UK ‘people we will welcome you back with open arms.’

9.41 Alyn Smith:

UK is not united.

Scotland is clear, we want to stay in the EU.

Scotland says no good Brexit, bad news for EU, Scotland and UK

I want to stop it.

If you want keep us in, you have to give us more time.

Citizens –

High anxiety. We have to give them clarity and certainty to the people across the UK and EU.

EU must act and protect the rights. EU needs to step up.

9.44 Barbara Spinelli:

Prospect of no deal will damage the Good Friday Agreement.

Future is dark for EU and UK citizens. Lose Freedom of Movement.

Hard to see how we get out of this terrible situation and population face the brunt.

The EU needs to pull out all the stops.

Need to guarantee freedom of movement.

EU citizens in the UK 3 million of them, they are affected.

We need agreement in the withdrawal agreement  to uphold their rights will give them certainty.

We need to give the UK more time.

9.46 Janice Atkinson:

The UK can put the Great back into the Great Britain.

9.48 Sean Kelly:

The vote was disappointing but completely predictable.

Credit to Theresa May and Michel Barnier have worked to ensure peace in Ireland.

Not time to be calling for referendum on Irish Unity. Its divisive and not what we want.

Looks like a No-Deal is coming. Preparations being made.

People of the UK don’t want that.

Sensible thing will be to allow the British people if they want this and they will say no.

9.51 Seb Dance:

Whichever party in power with Brexit. You move away from the EU structures and affect jobs and economy or stay and be unable to change the process.

There are millions and millions of people now in the UK are defending the EU and what it does for the people.

No majority for the deal, but we might need more time.

We need time to turn this around.

9.53 Molly Scott Cato:

Brexit is a failure of leadership

Theresa May has simply appeased her party.

Also failure of solidarity

So many young people will be affected.

It is only right that decision goes back to the people.

9.55 Speaker:

The UK doesn’t know what it wants.

Time for the British Parliament to consider that the Brexit is a UK Parliament not an EU one.

Being a member is not an economic decision it is more than that.

British government created this problem and they must solve it.

Sensible for us to ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’.

Mr Farage be careful using the word ‘War’. There was a war and the UK did win it, Thank God.

9.57 Esther De Lange:

The UK Parliament doesn’t know what they want but they can give speeches about it.

Commends Farage that he does know what he wants. To have the hardest Brexit possible.

What I hear from colleagues is about finding a way to sit down and discuss a solution.

10.00 Speaker:

Should offer the UK more time.

If they want a customs union and not hard Brexit, we should accommodate this.

The UK needs the EU.

10.01 Speaker:

Political, territorial, inter-generational divides in the UK

Only another referendum with the UK people will find a greater solution.

10.04 Speaker

Result is a long term defeat for the political powers.

The referendum, we need to talk cautiously about these and their consequences.

10.05 Speaker

British voters lead down the road of fairytale and lies.

They now know what it means to be members of the EU.

Businesses will leave the UK.

10.06 Speaker

Response to Mr Kamall and Farage

Barnier’s agreement is the right agreement

Only alternative we have time to

We need to think about what Europe needs.

10.11 Speaker

A lot of people want to the see the UK stay in the EU

I’m worried about the UK people in the EU and EU citizens in the UK.

10.11 Frans Timmermanns:

If not for the UK we would not be speaking here today.

Unbreakable link between the EU and UK. It will remain within Europe if not in the Union.

I want to be clear, I have not encountered a punitive attitude towards the UK across the EU 27 member states. No one wants to punish the UK.

This is a process that will do harm to the UK, to the EU. We have to limit that harm.

It is up to the House of Commons to take the next step.

Need to be clear about EU elements. Can’t leave the EU and take what you want that make you part of the EU, the integrity of the single market and four freedoms.

Mr Farage has a ‘pipedream’ of independence.

Collective responsibility of EU to maintain peace in Ireland. For peace we need the backstop, that is non-negotiatible.

I am glad that there has been EU solidarity that Ireland should not be sacrificed.

We will waiting for decisions in Westminister and UK and do as little harm as possible.

Qoutes the Rolling Stones ‘You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might find, you get what you need.’

10.18 Milania Ciot:

Hope outcome will lead to orderly withdrawal.

We will have to keep the implementation of withdrawal agreement delivers in interest of citizens and businesses.