Theresa May buckles: British PM to rule out no-deal Brexit

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May arrives to attend a summit between Arab League and European Union member states, in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. (Reuters pic)

LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May will on Tuesday propose formally ruling out a no-deal Brexit in a bid to avoid a rebellion by lawmakers who are threatening to grab control of the divorce process, The Sun newspaper reported.

As the United Kingdom’s labyrinthine Brexit crisis goes down to the wire, May is making a last-ditch effort to get changes to the divorce package but lawmakers will try on Wednesday to grab control of Brexit in a series of parliamentary votes.

After the British parliament voted 432-202 against her deal in January, the worst defeat in modern British history, May has tried to use the threat of a potentially disorderly no-deal Brexit to get concessions out of the EU.

But many British lawmakers and some of her own ministers have warned they will try to grab control of Brexit to avert thrusting the world’s fifth largest economy into a tumultuous economic crisis.

May on Tuesday will propose to her cabinet of senior ministers that she formally rules out a no-deal Brexit, opening the door to a delay of weeks or months to the March 29 exit date, The Sun newspaper reported.

Reuters reported on Monday that May’s government was looking at different options including a possible delay.

After meeting EU leaders in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh on Monday, May said a timely exit was “within our grasp” and insisted that delaying Brexit would be no way to solve the impasse in parliament over the departure.

With just a month to go until Brexit, the ultimate outcome is still unclear with scenarios ranging from a last-minute deal to another referendum that May has warned would reopen the divisions of the 2016 referendum.

The opposition Labour Party said on Monday it would back calls for a second referendum on Brexit if parliament rejects its alternative plan for leaving the EU.