May calls off doomed Brexit vote

Theresa May delays UK Brexit vote

Theresa May delays UK Brexit vote

Two-and-a-half years after Britain voted to leave the European Union, and with departure just over three months away on 29 March, the country does not know on what terms it will leave - and whether May will still be Britain's leader when it does.

Hours after the humiliation of scrapping a Commons vote on her withdrawal agreement, she headed off on a frantic tour of European capitals. "It's a fair deal for both sides". Her statement is due to be followed by a statement from the Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, who would have to formally get the vote pulled.

"It is clear that while there is broad support for numerous key aspects of the deal, on one issue, the Northern Ireland backstop, there remains widespread and deep concern", May said in a speech to Parliament.

Amid demands for a national election, ridicule and blunt warnings that her eleventh-hour bid for a changed deal was in vain, May pledged to seek European Union support for changes to make it more palatable to lawmakers.

"We will not renegotiate the deal, including the backstop", he tweeted, referring to the contested clause in the deal relating to Northern Ireland.

Protesters line a road holding placards near a new anti-Brexit mural, erected by Republican party Sinn Fein, in west Belfast, on December 6, 2017 to call for a special status for northern Ireland with respect to Brexit and no hard borders in Ireland. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her Scottish National Party would support an attempt to topple the government and trigger a new election.

But there is no agreement about what a better deal would look like.

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Many "Brexiteers" seek a clean break with the bloc and want to change the Irish backstop.

"This is a bad deal for Britain, a bad deal for our economy, and a bad deal for our democracy". The EU might be open to this idea, but it would mean accepting the continued free movement of EU citizens into the United Kingdom, a red line for many Brexit supporters. "The UK doesn't want this deal, but nor does it want a no-deal - and it's in the interests of everyone, Brussels included, for there to be a deal". But it is far from clear that hardline Eurosceptics have the numbers to force a confidence vote or leadership contest.

May would remain prime minister in the meantime, but without much authority as the clock ticks down to March 29, the day Britain officially is due to leave the EU.

The letter, signed by Labour's Jeremy Corbyn, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable, Plaid Cymru's Liz Saville Roberts and co-leader of the Greens Caroline Lucas, demanded assurances from the PM on what happens next.

The move averted a humiliating defeat for the government in a vote that had been scheduled for Tuesday.

Mrs May will set off on another intense round of diplomacy before then, travelling to The Hague and Berlin to meet her Dutch and German counterparts on Tuesday.

Mr Barclay, the MP for North East Cambridgeshire, was speaking after the European Court of Justice ruled Britain could cancel Brexit without the EU's permission and keep its rebate and opt-outs from EU policy in sectors such as asylum policy.

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