LONDON (Reuters) – British lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to hunt a delay in Britain’s exit from the European Union, setting the stage for Prime Minister Theresa Could to resume efforts to get her divorce deal accredited by parliament subsequent week.

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa Could is seen exterior Downing Road in London, Britain March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Lawmakers accredited by 412 votes to 202 a movement setting out the choice to ask the EU for a brief delay if parliament can agree on a Brexit deal by March 20 — or an extended delay if no deal may be agreed in time.

The vote makes it doubtless that the March 29 departure date set down in legislation, which Could has repeatedly emphasised, is more likely to be missed, though it’s unclear by how lengthy.

The brief delay envisaged within the movement may final till June 30, however the longer extension just isn’t presently time-limited. Both would require unanimous approval from the opposite 27 EU members, whose leaders meet in a summit subsequent Thursday.

Could hopes the specter of a protracted delay will push Brexit supporters in her Conservative Celebration and members of the Democratic Unionists, the small Northern Irish social gathering that props up her minority authorities in parliament, to again her deal on the third try.

A brand new vote on Could’s deal is probably going subsequent week, when these lawmakers should resolve whether or not to again a deal they really feel doesn’t supply a clear break from the EU, or reject it and settle for that Brexit might be watered down and even thwarted by a protracted delay.

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Her spokesman stated ministers had agreed to “redouble their resolve” to safe a deal.

Earlier on Thursday, lawmakers voted by 334 to 85 in opposition to a second referendum on EU membership. Few opposition lawmakers backed the measure and even campaigners for a “Folks’s Vote” stated the time was not but proper for parliament to vote on it.


The federal government narrowly averted an try by lawmakers to grab the agenda on March 20 with the intention of forcing a dialogue of other Brexit choices – presumably limiting Could’s choices when she takes her case for delay to the EU.

Thursday’s vote doesn’t imply a delay is assured; EU consent is required, and the default date for Britain to depart if there isn’t a settlement continues to be March 29. Could’s spokesman stated the federal government was nonetheless making preparations for a no-deal exit.

Her authority hit an all-time low this week after a collection of parliamentary defeats and rebellions. However she has made clear her deal stays her precedence, regardless of twice being overwhelmingly rejected, in January and once more on Tuesday.

Could’s spokesman stated earlier on Thursday that she would put that deal, struck after two-and-a-half years of talks with the EU, to a different vote “if it was felt that it had been worthwhile”.

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Britons voted by 52-48 p.c in a 2016 referendum to depart the EU, a call that has not solely divided the principle political events but in addition uncovered deep rifts in British society.

Sterling, which swung extra wildly this week than at any level since 2017, fell on Thursday from nine-month highs as traders turned cautious about Could’s probabilities of getting her Brexit deal accredited subsequent week.


U.S. President Donald Trump, who had earlier stated he seemed ahead to negotiating a “giant scale” commerce cope with Britain after Brexit, added to Could’s complications by criticizing her dealing with of the disaster.

“I’ll inform you, I’m shocked at how badly it’s all gone from the standpoint of a negotiation,” Trump informed reporters within the Oval Workplace as he met Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.

“However I gave the prime minister my concepts on learn how to negotiate it and I believe you’ll have been profitable. She didn’t take heed to that, and that’s advantageous. However I believe it may have been negotiated in a distinct method, frankly.”

Enterprise leaders warn that tearing up 40 years of agreements with the EU and its market of 500 million individuals with no transition deal would trigger chaos. Brexit supporters say that, in the long term, it could let Britain forge commerce offers the world over and thrive.

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EU leaders assembly subsequent Thursday will take into account urgent Britain to delay Brexit by at the very least a yr, European Council President Donald Tusk stated.

“I’ll attraction to the EU27 (remaining members) to be open to a protracted extension if the UK finds it essential to rethink its Brexit technique and construct consensus round it,” he stated.

France stated {that a} brief Brexit delay merely to debate Could’s present deal was “out of the query”.

However there was no fast signal of any main shift within the views of Conservative hardline eurosceptics who’ve up to now thwarted the prime minister.

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Lawmaker Andrew Bridgen accused her of pursuing a “scorched earth” coverage of destroying all different Brexit choices to depart lawmakers with a alternative between her deal and a protracted delay.

May must win over the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Celebration (DUP), which has up to now refused to again her plan.

DUP chief Arlene Foster stated the social gathering was working with the federal government to attempt to discover a manner of leaving the EU with a deal.

Writing by Michael Holden, Giles Elgood and Man Faulconbridge; Further reporting by William Schomberg, Paul Sandle, Michael Holden, Andrew MacAskill and Kate Holton in LONDON, Alastair Macdonald, Alissa de Carbonnel, Francesco Guarascio and Jan Strupczewski in BRUSSELS; Modifying by Janet Lawrence and Kevin Liffey

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.


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