Brexit: British PM May says no support for third vote on withdrawal deal

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday conceded that she did not have enough support to present her divorce deal from the EU for a new vote in Parliament.

The deal would need to be passed by Parliament this week if Britain is to meet a new May 22 deadline.

What is the current situation on Brexit?

  • a deal for leaving the bloc negotiated between May and EU leaders has twice failed to win parliamentary support
  • the EU agreed last week to extend a March 29 deadline, giving Britain until April 12 to decide on what kind of a Brexit it wants if the deal does not pass Parliament and until May 22 if it does
  • hundreds of thousands marched through London on Saturday calling for a second referendum

 ‘Indicative votes’

Following May’s statement, lawmakers were to vote on whether to hold nonbinding “indicative votes” on possible alternatives to her Brexit deal. Media reports say the alternatives to be put to the vote on Wednesday could include:

  • having Britain maintain much closer trade ties than envisaged by the prime minister’s deal
  • holding a second referendum on whether to actually leave the EU after all
  • the “nuclear option” of revoking Article 50, i.e. canceling the notification London sent Brussels of its intention to leave the bloc.

What happens next? If May’s deal is not accepted by Parliament in a “meaningful” vote this week, lawmakers will have to vote on whether to accept the extension to April 12.

If they do, options include:

  • leaving with no deal
  • canceling Brexit
  • requesting even more time

The last option would entail the UK voting in EU elections in May, something Brexiteers are anxious to avoid.

If they do not, the legal ramifications are unclear.

What are the objections to May’s deal? Many lawmakers want to see the UK stay in a customs union or the single market with the EU, both of which options go against May’s position. A customs union would stop London making its own trade agreements with non-EU countries, while a single market means Britain would have to accept EU policies on migration, contradicting two of the Brexiteers’ most-cherished aims.  

 tj/ng (AFP, dpa)


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