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Theresa May unveils her ‘New Brexit Deal’ – will it backfire?

Theresa May has this afternoon had one last roll of the dice in the Brexit saga. In a speech entitled ‘New Brexit Deal’, the Prime Minister threw the kitchen sink at passing her deal on a fourth vote. With May expected to step down if her deal is rejected again after recess, she made an appeal to MPs to get behind a Brexit deal. May conceded that the ‘challenge of taking Brexit from the simplicity of the choice on the ballot paper to the complexity of resetting the country’s relationship with 27 of its nearest neighbours’ had ‘proved even harder’ than she had anticipated:

‘While it has proved even harder than I anticipated, I continue to believe that the best way to make a success of Brexit is to negotiate a good exit deal with the EU as the basis of a new deep and special partnership for the future.’

In a bid to convince MPs to back the deal, May unveiled a host of changes to the deal which will be written into the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB). The biggest concession concerns a second referendum. May says MPs will get a vote on whether to hold another referendum if they back the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill. Were they to vote for this, the idea is the government would provide government time to legislate for this. However, it’s worth noting that given that MPs still believe there are not the numbers in the Commons for a second referendum, this is still an unlikely prospect.

Other changes include new guarantees on workers’ rights and environmental protections. These are all aimed at making the offer more palatable to Labour MPs. MPs will also get a consultation on the government’s negotiating position – something Labour MPs including Gareth Snell had asked for. In

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