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British Prime Minister Theresa May has issued a stark warning to lawmakers that if they do not back her Brexit deal, there is the possibility the country “will not leave the EU for many months, if ever”.


Her appeal comes after a chaotic week in parliament in which MPs twice
massively rejected the Brexit deal May struck with EU leaders with just two
weeks left before Britain is due to leave the bloc.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, May said that if MPs do back her deal
before the European Council summit on Thursday, she would seek “a short
technical extension” beyond the March 29 date to leave the EU.

Acknowledging it was “not an ideal outcome”, May said “it is something the
British people would accept if it led swiftly to delivering Brexit.”

“The alternative if Parliament cannot agree the deal by that time is much
worse”, she said, with Britain likely having to take part in European
elections in May if there was a longer extension.

“The idea of the British people going to the polls to elect MEPs three
years after voting to leave the EU hardly bears thinking about.

“There could be no more potent symbol of Parliament’s collective political
failure,” she wrote.

May warned that if MPs failed to back her deal before the European Council
summit, “we will not leave the EU for many months, if ever”.

The prime minister struck her agreement with the EU in November after
nearly two years of tortuous talks following the June 2016 referendum to
leave the bloc.

But the deal has remained deadlocked in parliament, chiefly by disagreement
over the so-called Irish “backstop” — a measure to avoid barriers at the
border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Lawmakers voted
against the deal for a second time on Tuesday but then voted against leaving
the EU without a deal on Wednesday.

MPs also rejected a call to hold a second Brexit referendum — a blow to
the hopes of a large number of Britons who still dream of keeping their
European identity.

May needs to win over rebel Brexiteers in her own party and Northern
Ireland’s hardline Democratic Unionist Party which props up her government.

 

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