UK Leader May Puts Off Brexit Deal Vote in British Parliament at the Last Minute
The British Prime Minister is trying to save the Brexit deal from a widely anticipated parliamentary defeat.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has postponed the crucial vote in the British Parliament on the Brexit deal with the EU.
The embattled Brexit agreement, which took 1.5 years to negotiate, had widely been expected to be up for a defeat in the parliamentary vote set for Tuesday.
On Monday, however, May somewhat unexpectedly decided to pull the Brexit deal vote generating a wide range of possibilities for Brexit, from a deal renegotiation, all the way to a second referendum in the UK, or a hard, “no-deal” Brexit.
“If we went ahead and held the vote tomorrow the deal would be rejected by a significant margin,” May told the British Parliament, as cited by Reuters.
“We will therefore defer the vote scheduled for tomorrow and not proceed to divide the House at this time,” the UK leader said.
Nonetheless, she left no doubt about her confidence that the Brexit deal in question was the right one for the UK.
She did acknowledge the concern among British MPs over the Northern Ireland “backstop”, a policy in the Brexit deal that is supposed to preclude the return of border checks on the border between Northern Ireland and EU member state Ireland.
Both Brexit critics and supporters have been against the open-ended backstop, which could in the UK’s having to live with EU rules for an indefinite period of time, long after it has left the Union.
The UK Prime Minister insisted, however, that the present Brexit deal provided the means to deliver on the will of the British people as expressed in June 2016 referendum, an outcome preferable to the holding of another referendum that could spike public tensions in the country.
As she pulled the Brexit deal vote of the British Parliament, May also announced that the United Kingdom would step up planning for a no-deal Brexit.
Her announcement about putting off the vote coupled with her conviction that there was widespread support for the Brexit deal was laughed at by some MPs
May’s position as Prime Minister is becoming increasingly uncertain as the MPs from the Scottish National Party said they were ready to back a no confidence vote for her Cabinet, while opposition Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said the United Kingdom no longer had “a functioning government”.
The Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, a coalition partner backing May’s ruling Conservative Party with its 10 MPs, described the situation a shambles.
May’s announcement she was pulling the Brexit deal vote came after earlier on Monday the EU’s highest court ruled that the UK was entitled to reverse Brexit unilaterally any time before its set date of March 29, or before the Brexit deal kicks in.
(Banner image: Video grab from Theresa May on Twitter)