May can not ignore MPs' backing for 'softer' Brexit, minister warns

Brexit: No Europe, No Deal, So What!

Brexit: No Europe, No Deal, So What!

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg arrives at the Houses of Parliament in London on March 29, 2019.

The contest to pick May's successor will be whittled down to two candidates by Conservative lawmakers, but then ultimately go to party members for a vote.

An informed source said: "They might claim that this is being argued in the party to give May a good send-off, but it looks like a way of cutting out the current candidates".

Almost three years after Britons voted by 52-48 per cent to end the country's European Union membership after 46 years, what Brexit will look like or whether it will even happen remains up in the air.

The prime minister is considering her next move after her withdrawal plan was defeated by MPs for a third time.

The government has so far failed to win over 34 Conservative rebels, including both Remainers as well as Tory Brexiteers, who say the deal still leaves the United Kingdom too closely aligned to Europe.

Labour's foreign affairs spokeswoman, Emily Thornberry, said it could try to call a vote of no confidence in May's government.

"We've been betrayed by much of Parliament, a duplicitous Prime Minister".

Conservative chairman Mr Lewis acknowledged some grassroots branches were "frustrated with their MPs" but ruled out allowing any deselections.

Exhausted of waiting, MPs this week gave themselves unprecedented powers to vote on various options for Britain's future relationship with the EU.

Parliament is due to vote at around 1900 GMT on Monday on a range of alternative Brexit options selected by Speaker John Bercow from nine proposals put forward by lawmakers, including a no-deal exit, preventing a no-deal exit, a customs union, or a second referendum.

The Conservative Party's Mr Lewis told Radio 4's Today programme: "The government's position is very clear - we do not support these options. The government's position is we believe the best way to respect the referendum is to deliver the deal".

But at the same time, rival ministers who support Brexit were threatening to quit if Mrs May decides to stay close to the EU with a customs union or if she sought a long delay to Brexit, the Sunday Times said.

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Meanwhile, Labour deputy leader Tom Watson has suggested the time has come for a national unity government.

He said: "I'm convinced at that after spending a lot of time meeting with and talking to officials in Europe".

Arriving at one party, Nigel Farage, former UKIP leader who spearheaded Brexit, was asked what he would like to see: "Brexit", he replied.

He also played down the idea of a government of national unity, saying: "I don't in all honesty think that it is practical".

Everyone is struggling to envision a way forward for Brexit, May or this parliament.

Britain has less than two weeks to convince the 27 other European Union countries that it can solve the impasse, or risk leaving the bloc on April 12 with no deal to soften the economic shock.

Brussels has said it is ready for Britain to crash out of the bloc with no deal.

"No deal is the only way we're going to get out, fulfilling our manifesto pledges and the commitment we made to the British people after the referendum", he said.

Recently, the House of Commons rejected UK Prime Minister Theresa May's deal for the third time, and the European Union responded by calling for a summit on 10 April.

There is also speculation that an election could be called.

But Downing Street later said this was not an "inevitability".

The failure by Parliament to agree the terms of Brexit has left businesses unable to plan even a few weeks ahead.

With parliament and the government deadlocked on May's deal, it remains unclear how, when or even whether Britain will leave the EU.

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