LONDON: Prime Minister Theresa May is making progress on winning Brexit concessions from the European Union, a senior minister said on Sunday, as British lawmakers plotted to delay Britain’s March 29 exit or even push for another referendum.
As the United Kingdom’s labyrinthine Brexit crisis goes down to the line, May is making a last-ditch effort to get changes to the divorce package before lawmakers try as early as Wednesday to grab control of Brexit.
The ultimate outcome is unclear.
While May insists the United Kingdom will leave as planned on March 29, even some of her senior ministers are now openly threatening to side with rebels to stop putting it to another vote in parliament. If she fails, May will have to decide whether to delay Brexit or endanger the world’s fifth largest economy by leaving without a deal on March 29.
Britain’s exit from the European Union must not be frustrated and the government must focus on delivering it, Prime Minister Theresa May said.
“Our focus to deliver Brexit must be absolute,” May told Conservative Party activists on Saturday, according to the BBC.
“We must not, and I will not, frustrate what was the largest democratic exercise in this country’s history. In the very final stages of this process, the worst thing we could do is lose our focus.”
Three British cabinet ministers have publicly indicated they will back plans to delay Brexit if lawmakers vote down May’s plan for a new deal with the European Union.
Business minister Greg Clark, work and pensions minister Amber Rudd, and justice minister David Gauke signalled in a Daily Mail column that they will side with rebels and opposition parties to stop Britain leaving without a deal if necessary.
May has promised that if she does not bring a revised deal back by Feb 27, parliament will have an opportunity to vote on the next steps. Some lawmakers are expected to use that to try to wrest control of the process from the government.