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Amid Brexit turmoil, UK reassures overseas territories


Added on 14/12/2018

Brexit was at the top of the agenda when Premier Dr. Orlando Smith and other overseas territory leaders met with United Kingdom officials during the 20th Joint Ministerial Council last week in London, reports the BVI Beacon

But subsequent turmoil in the UK Parliament this week showed just how quickly the country’s volatile political climate can shift, leaving the OTs scrambling to keep up.

On Tuesday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May postponed a key vote on her administration’s plan to exit the European Union, sparking an outcry from many parliamentarians and bringing Brexit and her own future into question. Members of her Conservative Party subsequently forced a vote of no confidence that had the power to unseat her, though ultimately Ms. May won the vote, with 63 percent of Conservative MPs supporting her.

Days before, however, the UK had promised during the Dec. 4- 5 JMC meetings to ensure the “best outcome” for OTs when it withdraws from the EU.

“This follows assurances given by the UK government that, in the unlikely scenario that we leave the EU without a deal, existing projects under certain EU funding streams will be guaranteed by Her Majesty’s Treasury for the lifetime of those projects,” according to a statement released after the JMC by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Unlikely though a no-deal Brexit may be, the chances could have increased significantly this week. Before the no-confidence vote, Ms. May promised to return to a sceptical EU and negotiate further changes to a Brexit plan that faced apparently insurmountable opposition in Parliament.