May to postpone parliamentary vote on Brexit deal: Sources
Sources close to the British government have indicated that Prime Minister Theresa May is to postpone a crucial vote in parliament on her European Union withdrawal agreement.
The Guardian newspaper reported Monday that May was to make an announcement on the decision to pull the vote, which had been planned for Tuesday, after she reportedly failed to win support of enough Conservative Party lawmakers for her Brexit deal.
The office of the Speaker of the House of Commons said May would give an oral statement to the chamber at 3.30 pm. Leader of the conservatives in the House and Brexit minister will also make statements about the postponement and its procedural details, said the reports.
Many had expected that May would eventually fail in her attempts to go through parliament with the draft Brexit deal she signed with the EU last month. May had warned repeatedly that if her agreement was rejected, she would go on with the process and Britain would leave the EU in March without a deal.
Reports said a new vote on May’s Brexit agreement or any other changed document could come next week or in early January. The deadline for submitting a deal to the Commons is January 21.
EU officials reacted to reports of a potential postponement with a European commission spokesman saying that would not change the bloc’s position on the deal.
“This deal is the best and only deal possible. We will not renegotiate the deal that is on the table right now. That is very clear,” said the spokesman, adding, “Our position has therefore not changed and as far as we’re concerned the UK is leaving the EU on the 29 March 2019. We are prepared for all scenarios.”
Te opposition Labour Party also slammed the reported decision to delay the Brexit vote, with party leader Jeremy Corbyn saying that it was a desperate attempt to prevent an outright defeat for May in parliament.
“The government has decided Theresa May’s Brexit deal is so disastrous that it has taken the desperate step of delaying its own vote at the eleventh hour,” said Corbyn, adding, “We have known for at least two weeks that Theresa May’s worst-of-all-worlds deal was going to be rejected by parliament because it is damaging for Britain.”