What is Britain's next move on Brexit?
LONDON, March 18 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa
May is expected this week to try to persuade parliament to
approve her Brexit deal at the third time of asking, before
heading to Brussels to request a short delay to the withdrawal
In three days of high-stakes voting in parliament last week,
lawmakers determined that they did not support May's exit deal,
did not want to leave the European Union without any deal, and
wanted a delay to the March 29 exit day to resolve the impasse.
May has told lawmakers they have two choices: back my deal
and face a short delay, or reject it and face a much longer one.
Here's what is expected to happen in the coming days:
BREXIT VOTE: TAKE THREE
May has said her preference is for short delay to Brexit.
This means, according to her own assessment, that she needs to
hold a third vote in Britain's 650-seat parliament on her deal
before an EU summit on March 21-22.
That gives her until Wednesday to overturn the 149-vote
defeat she suffered on March 12.
On Sunday, trade minister Liam Fox said it would be
difficult to justify holding a third vote if the government knew
if was going to lose. Some have suggested the vote could yet
take place after the EU summit.
When EU heads of government meet in Brussels on Thursday,
May will use the summit to request an extension to the two-year
Brexit negotiating period that is due to end on March 29.
The outcome of these talks will be determined by whether or
not parliament has approved May's deal, and what conditions the
EU attaches to a delay. Any delay requires agreement of all
other 27 EU members.
A NEW PLAN?
If May's deal is rejected again, ministers have warned that
the EU is only likely to agree to a longer delay, and that an
alternative approach to Brexit would need to be found.
In this scenario, her government has said it is willing to
find a way to allow parliament to seek a majority for an
The government has not yet been specific about how this
would work, but a sizeable contingent of lawmakers wants it to
involve holding a series of "indicative votes" on different
options in order to determine which, if any, could command
majority support in the House of Commons.
(Reporting by William James
Editing by Mark Heinrich)
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