Brexit: Vote on Theresa May’s deal may not happen next week
Theresa May has told MPs there might not be a third vote on her Brexit deal next week if there is insufficient support for it to pass.
If it does not pass, the EU has set a deadline of 12 April for the UK to propose a new plan.
Supporters of another EU referendum are due to march through central London later.
Labour’s Tom Watson will speak at the event, pledging to back May’s deal if she agrees to hold a referendum on it.
Meanwhile, an online petition calling for the UK to remain in the EU has attracted a record number of signatures.
By 11:32 GMT, the total number of signatures calling for Article 50 to be revoked stood at 4,151,815 – beating the previous record reached by another Brexit-related petition in 2016.
If Mrs May’s deal is approved by MPs next week, the EU has agreed to extend the Brexit deadline until 22 May. If it is not – and no alternative plan is put forward – the UK is set to leave the EU on 12 April.
In a letter to all MPs on Friday evening, Mrs May offered to talk to MPs over the coming days “as Parliament prepares to take momentous decisions”.
She said there were now four “clear choices”. These were:
- Approving her deal next week – which relies on Commons Speaker John Bercow allowing her to put it to MPs to vote on again, which he has ruled will not be allowed unless “substantial” changes are made to it
- Asking for another extension before 12 April – which would mean the UK would have to take part in elections for the European Parliament
- Revoking Article 50 – cancelling Brexit – which Mrs May said would “betray the result of the referendum”
- Leaving with no deal
Children’s minister Nadhim Zahawi told the Today programme failing to support Mrs May’s deal would lead to a “meltdown in our politics, not just for the Conservative party but for all parties”.
He said all the other alternatives would require MPs asking for a much longer extension, which Mrs May has said she is not prepared for.
Indicating he would stand down if Mrs May’s deal is not voted for, Mr Zahawi said he “cannot justify” going to his constituents and saying:
“We failed to deliver this and that now we are having to stay in the EU and go into European elections.”
Mrs May also confirmed in her letter that the government would change the law to officially change the UK’s departure date from the EU next week.
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