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Brexit: MPs push to prevent no-deal in law



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Media caption Yvette Cooper: "We're in a very dangerous situation"

A cross-party group of MPs has put forward a bill to prevent a no -deal Brexit in 10 days' time.

If passed into law, the bill would require the PM to ask for an extension of the deadline. 19659004] Labor MP Yvette Cooper presented the bill for debate on Wednesday

Meanwhile, the EU chief negotiator has said no-deal Brexit is now more likely but can still be avoided.

Michel Barnier said a long extension to The UK's April 1

2 exit date had "significant risk for the EU" and a "strong justification would be needed."

Tory MP Sir Oliver Letwin, who supports Ms Cooper's bill, said: "This is a last-ditch attempt to prevent our country being exposed to the risks inherent in a no-deal exit.

"We realize this is difficul t. But it is definitely worth trying. "

Ms Cooper said the UK was" in a very dangerous situation "and MPs" have a responsibility to make sure we don't end up with a catastrophic no deal ".

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's World At One, she added: "We have been trying to find just a couple of days that really should have happened for the last two years – a process of trying to build a consensus around the best way. forward.

"It is what the prime minister should be doing. It is the prime minister's responsibility to ensure we don't leave the country less safe."

In March, MPs voted against leaving the EU without a deal

Why is this bill unusual?

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AFP / Getty Images

Normally the government chooses to present to Parliament in order for them to become law .

But – much to the government's disapproval – MPs to allow backbenchers to take charge of business in the Commons on Wednesday.

This gives backbenchers the opportunity to set aside more time on Thursday, which could be used to pass the bill in law, as they will be in charge.

The bill would need to go through the usual process before it becomes Law – including being agreed at the House of Lords and receiving Royal Assent.

But Speaker John Bercow said that, while it was "an unusual state of affairs", it was "not as unprecedented as he supposes" – citing recent bills on Northern Ireland that has been passed at the same speed.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said a third set of so-called indicative votes could still take place alongside this process, but the focus of the cross-party group was now approving the bill – with the hope that it will pass on Thursday

Elsewhere, the BBC's John Pienaar said Theresa May's cabinet has considered plans to ramp up no-deal Brexit preparations. A snap general election was also discussed

In the latest round of indicative votes on Monday, MPs voted on four alternatives to the PM's withdrawal deal, but none gained a majority.

MPs rejected a customs union with the EU by three votes. A motion for another referendum got the most votes in favor, but still lost.

The votes were not legally binding, but they had been billed as the moment when Parliament might finally compromise.

  • What does a soft Brexit mean?
  • How could Brexit be delayed?

Earlier, Mr Barnier said: "No deal was never our desire or intended scenario but the EU 27 is now prepared. It will be day after day more likely." the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee that "is somewhat dependent on the decisions of the House of Commons", and that the deal was negotiated with the UK "not against the UK".

deal Brexit, there is only one way forward – they have got to vote on a deal.

"There is only one treaty available – this one," he said, waving the withdrawal agreement.

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Media caption Barnier: "No-deal Brexit has become more likely" [19659036] May May's plan for the UK's departure has been rejected by MPs three times.

Last week, Parliament took control of the process away from the government in order to hold a series of votes designed to find an alternative way forward. 19659004] Eight options were put to MPs, but none were able to command a majority, and on Monday night, a down-four were rejected too.

What next?

  • Tuesday April 2: A five -hour cabinet meeting
  • Wednesday April 3: Potentially another round of indicative votes, and Yvette Cooper's bill to be debated
  • Thursday 4 April: Theresa May could bring her withdrawal deal back to Parliament for a fourth vote, while MPs could also vote on Ms Cooper's bill
  • Wednesday 10 April : Emergency summit of EU leaders to consider any UK request for further extension
  • Friday April 12: Brexit day, if UK does not search / EU does not grant further delay
  • 23-26 May: European Parliamentary elections

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