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Prime Minister's New Brexit Plan Offers Vote On Second Referendum
21 May 2019, 16:49 | Updated: 21 May 2019, 17:36
The Prime Minister has said there is "one last chance" to help MPs deliver the result of the 2016 referendum, as she offered a "new Brexit deal."
Speaking in front of a grey backdrop with the words "Seeking common ground in Parliament," the Prime Minister said her Withdrawal Agreement Bill will include a vote on whether to hold a second referendum.
Mrs May said: "I recognise the genuine and sincere strength of feeling across the House on this important issue.
"The Government will therefore include in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill at introduction a requirement to vote on whether to hold a second referendum and this must take place before the Withdrawal Agreement can be ratified."
The Prime Minister said the new Brexit deal will seek to conclude alternative arrangements for the Irish backstop by December 2020.
She said: "Although it's not possible for (alternative arrangements) to replace the backstop in the Withdrawal Agreement, we can start the work now to ensure they are a viable alternative.
"So as part of the new Brexit deal we will place the Government under a legal obligation to seek to conclude alternative arrangements by December 2020 so that we can avoid any need for the backstop coming into force."
Mrs May said: "The new Brexit deal will set out in law that the House of Commons would approve the UK's objectives for the negotiations on our future relations with the EU.
"And they will approve the treaties governing that relationship before the Government signs them."
Mrs May said a failure to reach agreement on Brexit would lead to a "nightmare future of permanently polarised politics".
On Tuesday morning the Prime Minister told the Cabinet: "The Withdrawal Agreement Bill is the vehicle which gets the UK out of the EU and it is vital to find a way to get it over the line."
During the two hours spent discussing the Brexit plan, Mrs May's spokesman said there were "strong opinions" around the Cabinet table but also a "determination" to get a deal through Parliament.
"The discussions included alternative arrangements, workers' rights, environmental protections and further assurances on protecting the integrity of the UK in the unlikely event that the backstop is required," the spokesman said.