UK Prime Minister Theresa May on January 21
UK Prime Minister Theresa May on January 21

Ruling out second referendum, May unveils Brexit Plan B

ANI | Updated: Jan 22, 2019 10:18 IST

London [UK], Jan 22 (ANI): With time rapidly running out for the UK to exit the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday presented an alternate path to secure Parliamentary support for a Brexit deal, dismissing all probability of a second referendum.
She outlined six key issues which have been the centre of the talks held with leaders across party lines in the run-up to her address on January 21. Two issues from the lot are regarding the process for moving forward after last week's vote, including the scenario if a no-deal Brexit and a second referendum amongst others.
May also announced that the application fee for EU citizens wishing to stay in the UK post-Brexit will be waived off by the government. "Having listened to concerns from members and organisations, I can confirm today that when we roll out the scheme in full on March 30, the government will waive the application fee so that there is no financial barrier for any EU nationals who wish to stay," she announced.
"Following last week's vote it is clear that the government's approach had to change - and it has," May stated while outlining that she had held meetings with members across party lines excluding Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition whom she slammed for not participating in Brexit talks post last week's vote.
"I regret that the leader of the opposition has not chosen to take part (in meetings) so far. I hope he will reflect on that decision given the importance of this issue (Brexit) we should all be prepared to find a way forward," she said while referring to Corbyn.
"When people say rule out no deal, the consequences of what they are saying is that if we in Parliament cannot approve a deal, we should revoke Article 50. I believe this would go against the Referendum result and I do not believe that is a course of action we should take or which this house would support," May put forth, ruling out staying in the EU beyond March 29, 2019.
"Our duty is to implement the decision of the first one (referendum). I fear a second referendum would set a difficult precedent that could have significant implications for how we handle referendums in this country, not least strengthening the hand of those campaigning to break up our United Kingdom...I do not believe there is a majority for a second referendum and if I am right, just as the government is having to think about its approach going forward, then so do those members who believe this is the answer," the Prime Minister stated while completely dismissing the chances of a second referendum.
"All of us agree that as we leave the EU, we must fully respect the Belfast Agreement and not allow the creation of a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland nor indeed a border down the Irish sea and I want to be absolutely clear that this government will not reopen the Belfast Agreement. I have never even considered doing so and neither would I," May said.
She outlined the two core issues with regard to the contested backstop - "The fear that we could be trapped in it permanently and concerns over its potential impact on our Union if Northern Ireland is treated differently from the rest of the UK," - and assured that she would be holding discussions with leaders and subsequently taking the conclusions from those discussions back to the EU for negotiations for a Brexit deal which can command the support of the Parliament.
With a little over two months to go for the UK to leave the EU, the lawmakers are scheduled to vote on the amendments made to the already secured deal on January 29. "The process of engagement is ongoing," May said while confirming that she will be holding meetings with members across party lines, unions, and the civil society in the coming days to find consensus on a way forward after the rejection of the Brexit deal by the Parliament last week.
She outlined three key changes which are needed in her approach of securing the support of the Parliament for a deal - "First we will be more flexible, open and inclusive in the future in how we engage Parliament in our approach to negotiating our future partnership with the EU," May said while outlining the next two which deal with worker's rights and the backstop. (ANI)