British PM wins Parliament support for Brexit delay plan

Geraldine Edwards
March 17, 2019

On March 21, May is expected to seek an extension at a European Council conference going to held in Brussels, after her Brexit deal was rejected by the UK' House of Commons for the second time this week's Tuesday. Both lawmakers and the public remain split between backers of a clean break from the European Union and those who favor continuing a close relationship, either through a post-Brexit trade deal or by reversing the June 2016 decision to leave.

Starmer said Labour would support holding a public vote on any Brexit deal which is approved by parliament.

In essence, May has handed Brexit supporters an ultimatum - ratify her deal by March 20 or face a long delay to Brexit way beyond June 30 that would open up the possibility that the entire divorce could be ultimately thwarted.

British Prime Minister Theresa May worked today to pull off an against-the-odds rescue for her European Union divorce deal, after Parliament voted to postpone Brexit to avert a chaotic United Kingdom departure in two weeks. The country is due to end 46 years of membership in the bloc on 29 March, with the looming threat of economic chaos should no agreement be reached.

Brexit paused MPs read out the result after Mrs May’s motion passed
Brexit paused MPs read out the result after Mrs May’s motion passed

British MPs have voted to ask the European Union to delay Brexit, with just two weeks to go until the United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the bloc.

The MPs, earlier on Thursday, rejected an attempt to secure another Brexit referendum by 334 votes to 85, the BBC said. Few opposition lawmakers backed the measure and even campaigners for a "People's Vote" said the time was not yet right for parliament to vote on it.

In another tactical move, May also promised lawmakers that if her deal isn't approved next week, she will give Parliament the chance to take over on 25 March.

Britons voted by 52-48% in a 2016 referendum to leave the European Union, a decision that has not only divided the main political parties but also exposed deep rifts in British society.

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US President Donald Trump, who had earlier said he looked forward to negotiating a "large scale" trade deal with Britain after Brexit, added to May's headaches by criticising her handling of the crisis. "I think that would be a disaster and I'm emphatically against that because it wouldn't solve anything". The parliament voted against the idea of the second referendum on Brexit. She didn't listen to that, and that's fine.

After months of political deadlock, Britain's House of Commons voted 413-202 Thursday to ask the European Union to delay the country's exit. Brexit's backers are counting on a trade deal with the U.S. being reached soon after leaving the EU.

European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted Thursday he will appeal to EU leaders "to be open to a long extension if the United Kingdom finds it necessary to rethink its Brexit strategy and build consensus about it".

France said that a short Brexit delay merely to discuss May's existing deal was "out of the question". "Those discussions will continue", DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said after talks with British ministers.

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Lawmaker Andrew Bridgen accused her of pursuing a "scorched earth" policy of destroying all other Brexit options to leave lawmakers with a choice between her deal and a long delay.

But she must win over dozens of Brexit-supporting rebels in her own Conservative Party and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which props up her minority government.

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