News analysis

PM May buys time for party to decide on Brexit

LONDON • If Britain's Parliament were the final arbiter of Brexit, Tuesday night's vote would have been historic. It would have been a crowning achievement for Prime Minister Theresa May: Leavers and Remainers, Conservatives and Labour Party members debated for six hours and voted seven times before a majority finally said what they want to happen.

It was not any of that. The European Union (EU) has already said "no" - in more languages and ways than is reasonable to count - to the one demand the majority voted in favour of: an alternative to the hated provision of Mrs May's Brexit deal that guarantees an open border in Ireland. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, deputy chief negotiator Sabine Weyand and French President Emmanuel Macron have all said the so-called backstop is not up for renegotiation.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 31, 2019, with the headline 'PM May buys time for party to decide on Brexit'. Subscribe