Theresa May warns of ‘grave uncertainty’ if lawmakers reject Brexit deal
Theresa May warns of ‘grave uncertainty’ if lawmakers reject Brexit deal
A sign is held up saying 'MayDay' as people take part in a UKIP-backed Brexit betrayal rally on Sunday in London. Dan Kitwood Getty Images
10 December, 2018, 23:03
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is calling off a crucial vote in Parliament on whether to approve her Brexit deal and will head back to Brussels to seek a better offer from the European Union.
The pound took the biggest hit in June 2016, when the country voted to leave the EU.
Britain invoked Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty in March 2017, triggering a two-year exit process. "It's a fair deal for both sides".
The reports came as British bookmakers said there was a 95% chance the House of Commons would vote not to pass the deal.
Ahead of the Commons showdown, controversial activist Tommy Robinson will lead a pro-Brexit march in London on Sunday - with a rival counter-demonstration set to oppose it.
"From listening to those views", she continued after the noise in the chamber ebbed, "it is clear that while there is broad support for numerous key aspects of the deal, on one issue - the Northern Ireland backstop - there remains widespread and deep concern". Under the so-called backstop, the United Kingdom would remain part of the EU customs union if the two sides couldn't agree on another way to avoid a "hard border". May and the European Union could tinker with the political declaration since it is not binding and only represents an overview for how the future negotiations should proceed.
A simple majority of all lawmakers could also topple her government with a vote of no confidence. She is now holding talks with her top ministers to finalize the government's position.
May will now come under pressure to seek to re-negotiate the deal at a summit with European Union leaders on Thursday and Friday. Pulling such an important vote out of self-interest does not look good. "We have a responsibility to discharge [it]", she said. May has been trying to find some kind of modifications to the Brexit deal that could appease her many critics. The glitch is it would mean free movement of people would continue, which many - including May - consider a betrayal of the referendum result. If London and Brussels can not agree on a future trade relationship, the draft deal establishes an arrangement, known as a "backstop", as a Plan B to determine how customs regulations will work.
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is heading back to Brussels to try to get a better deal. AP
EU leaders have rejected the prospect of renegotiating the withdrawal agreement itself but European sources speaking privately say tweaks in the accompanying declaration on post-Brexit ties might be possible.
Mrs May warned Tory would-be rebels the country would be in "uncharted waters" if the deal is rejected.
It's not clear when the vote will be held or what, if any, concessions Ms.
May said Britain "would truly be in uncharted waters" if the text agreed after almost two years of tortuous negotiations is voted down less than four months before the March 29 Brexit date. But winning such a vote would require the support of some Conservatives, who may be unwilling to trigger an election that could well see them ousted from power. If that failed, there would be an election, a process that takes five to six weeks.
"This is a watershed moment and an act of pathetic cowardice by a Tory government which has run out of road and is now collapsing into utter chaos", Sturgeon said in a statement of the apparent decision to delay the vote.
Supporters of a second referendum received a boost from a European Court of Justice legal opinion last week stating that Britain does have the unilateral right to revoke its Brexit decision.
Demonstrators gather at a rally Sunday for Best for Britain and People's Vote, campaigns aimed at obtaining a second referendum on Brexit.
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Current forecasts indicate May's deal will be defeated, a step that would thrust the government's Brexit plans into confusion. May's legal team tried to kill the case, saying it was frivolous because the government had no intention of halting Brexit.
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