Friday 29 March 2019 2:44 AM UTC
LONDON, March 29: The British government said it intended to bring back Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal for a third vote in parliament on Friday to avoid a chaotic no-deal divorce from the EU.
May’s throw of the dice comes a day after her dramatic pledge to resign in order to persuade her rivals to finally back her vision for breaking Britain’s 46-year bond with the European project.
The government’s back is against the wall as it tries to avert potential economic disaster and financial panic in the coming weeks.
The House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom said the government was trying to secure permission for a third vote from parliament speaker John Bercow.
He already rejected a similar attempt last week after ruling that the version May was bringing back was essentially the same text that lawmakers had already twice rejected by resounding margins.
“We recognise that any motion brought forward tomorrow will need to be compliant with the speaker’s ruling and that discussion is ongoing,” Leadsom told the chamber.
Anxious EU leaders last week offered Britain a Brexit extension until May 22.
But it is conditional on parliament voting through May’s deal by Friday — the day Britain was originally scheduled to leave.
Failure to pass the deal could mean a no-deal Brexit as early as April 12. Businesses fear that will cause economic chaos.
To avoid that, the British government must spell out what its next steps should be.
Britain might then seek a much longer extension that would mean it has to hold European Parliament elections despite having voted to leave the bloc.
‘Desire for new approach’
May’s handling of Brexit has provoked both anger and frustration as well as ridicule.
She played what may have been her last political card on Wednesday by promising to quit once the messy divorce process is complete.
“I know there is a desire for a new approach — and new leadership — in the second phase of the Brexit negotiations and I won’t stand in the way of that,” May told a packed meeting of party members.
Her promise won over some likely contenders for her job.
May became premier shortly after the 2016 referendum in which Britons narrowly voted to leave the EU.
Former foreign minister Boris Johnson said he would now back the premier “on behalf of the 17.4 million people who voted for Brexit”.
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