What did Theresa May say in her Brexit plan B statement to MPs?Comments
Theresa May has set out her Brexit plan B to MPs in the House of Commons after her initial deal on how the UK would leave the EU was rejected. During her speech, she dismissed calls for a second referendum and vowed to scrap the EU citizens registration fee.
Her plan B will not be debated in Parliament until the 29 January. The vote is expected the same day.
The UK is scheduled to leave the EU on Friday the 29 March 2019 at 11 p.m. UK time.
However, Parliament has been in deadlock over a final Brexit agreement.
Today, the European Commission's chief spokesperson, Margaritis Schinas, refused to be drawn on Britain's Brexit deadlock and said only that the Irish backstop was part of the withdrawal agreement.
"I'm not going to speculate on any possible outcomes on any possible announcements," Schinas said, adding "don't look for answers to Brussels'. As I told you in the past, this is the moment for London to speak, not for us."
Several EU foreign ministers said Monday that reopening the deal was out of the question.
Key points from Theresa May's speech
Theresa May started her speech condemning the car bomb attack in Northern Ireland at the weekend.
She then moved on to her Brexit plan B statement.
“The right way to rule out no deal is for this house to approve a deal with the EU,” May said at the start of her speech.
On a second referendum, she said "our duty is to implement the decision of the first one."
The prime minister said she does not believe there is a majority to support a second referendum.
"Accepting a second referendum will damage the union, and damage social cohesion," she added.
On the Northern Ireland backstop, she said despite the changes previously agreed, there remain two key issues, adding she will have further conversations around the issues and then take feedback from the talks back to the EU.
She said there are anxieties over the freedom of movement of EU citizens in the UK, and UK citizens in the EU and vowed to offer better protections on workers' rights.
She added the government is going to scrap the EU citizens registration fee, which is £65. And said anyone who has already paid it to confirm their settlement status post-Brexit will be reimbursed.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn responds
Leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, said the prime minister's deal is undeliverable.
"Today heralds the start of a democratic process. Of course the government tried to block us getting to this stage with scrutiny," he argued.
Corbyn also said that May needs to rule out 'no deal' and stop wasting taxpayers' money on preparing for the outcome.
"No more phoney talks," he added.
"This time, I hope the government will listen to this house," he said.
Theresa May responded to Corbyn's comments saying that she would like to have "some talks" with him.
SNP Party reaction
Rt Hon Ian Blackford MP of the SNP Party said "we did not vote for Brexit" and added "we will not be dragged out of Brexit by a Tory government we did not vote for."
Arguing that Scotland "want no part of it".
Theresa May said in response, for the SNP Party to say the best economic future for Scotland is to be outside of the UK "is to fly in the face of economic reality".
Theresa May said the final stage negotiations are now for politicians, for parliament to secure a deal and to take it forward to the European Union.
"The sheer facts are that no deal will only be taken off the table by revoking Article 50...which the government won't do... or by having a deal," she added.
"It's the backstop that is the issue and we will be working hard to find a resolution to it," May said.