Back the Brexit deal or face long delay, May's deputy warns MPs

Back the Brexit deal or face long delay, May's deputy warns MPs

The minister was in London for arguably the most sensitive of the government's St Patrick's Day missions overseas as European leaders began considerations on what type of delay could be granted for the UK's exit.

Unless an agreement is made, Britain is still at legal default to depart from the bloc on March 29.

Following the talks, Mr Rutte said the current Withdrawal Agreement is the "only deal on the table".

Next week, MPs will be asked to vote again on Theresa May's deal, which they've already rejected overwhelmingly twice.

May has given those critics an ultimatum - ratify her deal by Wednesday or face a delay to Brexit way beyond June 30 that would open up the possibility that the entire departure from the European Union could ultimately be thwarted. "But we do not think today is the right time to test the will of the house on the case for a new public vote".

Conservative MPs who voted twice against their Prime Minister's deal say the backstop would permanently entrap the United Kingdom within the customs union and the single market. Thick sleety rain whipped the North Sea into a grizzly temper and banners flapped like sails in the wind but it was not enough to deter hundreds of Brexit supporters who turned out yesterday for the start of the 14-day March to Leave from Sunderland to Westminster. Parliament voted this week to seek a delay of at least three months.

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Protesters plan to set out Saturday from Sunderland, which is 270 miles (434 kilometers) north of London that voted by 61-39 percent in 2016 to leave the EU.

European Union leaders will consider pressing Britain to delay Brexit by at least a year to find a way out of the domestic maelstrom, though there is shock and growing impatience at the political chaos in London.

Mrs May is expected to bring her Withdrawal Agreement back for a third vote early next week despite its overwhelming 149-vote defeat on Tuesday.

May and her allies hope if the 10 DUP lawmakers can be persuaded to drop their opposition, many Brexiteer Conservatives will follow, giving her Brexit deal a fighting chance of winning Parliament's backing.

Her decision to hold a third meaningful vote next week is an ultimatum for lawmakers - back her deal so that she can request a "short, technical extension" until June 30; if not, Britain will need to participate in European Parliament elections in May, or worse, risk Brexit not materialising at all.

Seven cabinet ministers - Ms Truss, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson - voted against the government motion.

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