Published: Wed, March 06, 2019
Money | By Bruce West

May Accused of Attempted Bribe prior New Vote on Brexit

May Accused of Attempted Bribe prior New Vote on Brexit

More than half the money is for the North of England and the Midlands, regions which tended to vote for Leave in the 2016 referendum, but which are heartlands of support for the opposition Labour Party.

Meanwhile, Communities Secretary James Brokenshire denied the objective was to bribe lawmakers, saying: "This funding is there regardless of the outcome".

A committee of eight senior euroskeptics will scrutinize the government's revised backstop proposals, which Attorney General Geoffrey Cox is seeking to renegotiate in Brussels.

"Communities across the country voted for Brexit as an expression of their desire to see change", May said in a statement announcing the funds.

She said: "After decades of neglect a one-off payment created to help the Prime Minister ahead of a key Brexit vote will fail, and it will confirm to people in our towns that the government is not serious in its commitment to our communities".

But Labour finance spokesman John McDonnell said: "This town fund smacks of desperation from a government reduced to bribing MPs to vote for their damaging flagship Brexit legislation".

"This funding is there regardless of the outcome, but obviously we want to see a deal happening, we believe that is what is in the best interests of our country", he said, adding that it "leaving no part of our United Kingdom behind" was what May really believed in.

"But there is no constitutionality in that sense".

Labour legislator Gareth Snell said the allocation for his area of central England was "less than the total value of cuts faced by Stoke-on-Trent City Council alone over the same period" because of the Conservative government's austerity measures.

Time is of the essence, with some businesses increasingly concerned over the risk of a disorderly Brexit, which BMW said on Tuesday could mean it would move some production of engines and its Mini model out of Britain.

A further 600 million pounds will be available for communities around the country to bid for, the government said. He is expected to return for more talks this week. In response to those who claim this fund doesn't make up for other budget squeezes, he claimed that this injection is "new money" and that "we await the regional fund details".

Demands for an "independent" arbitration panel by the negotiators are being resisted by the EU, outside the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, according to the newspaper.

The ERG has set out three tests by which they will judge Mr Cox's efforts to secure changes to the backstop.

The group wants a legally binding, treaty level arrangement, the language must not just simply reiterate the temporary nature of the backstop, and there "needs to be a clear and unconditional route out" of the arrangement.

"There are no documents for us to examine at this stage, but we look forward to seeing in due course what the Attorney has agreed, so that we may assess whether it meets the requirements of the Brady amendment, which commanded a majority in the House of Commons and calls for significant, legally-binding changes to the Withdrawal Agreement", Mr Tomlinson said following the first meeting of the group at Westminster on Monday.

"What we need is a General Election so the Labour Party can negotiate a deal that protects our jobs and economy, instead of the shambles that the Conservative Party has overseen".

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