UK: Theresa May to bring Brexit deal back to lawmakers in June

Prime Minister Theresa May intends to introduce a bill implementing the Brexit deal in early June. She's hoping to reach a compromise with Labour to overcome a deadlock in Parliament.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will introduce a bill in the first week of June to implement Brexit, the government has announced.

A government spokesperson said May will put forward a Withdrawal Agreement Bill, making Brexit law in the UK, in the week of June 3, before the summer parliamentary recess in July.

Lawmakers have already rejected May's Brexit deal with the European Union three times amid deep divides over when, how or even if the divorce will take place.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said on Wednesday that a fourth defeat would mean the "deal is dead in that form" and force parliamentarians to choose between a no-deal Brexit or canceling Britain's departure completely.

"If the House (of Commons) has not passed the Withdrawal Agreement Bill then there are growing voices in Europe, not least the French, who want to move on to other issues," he said.

May's spokesman refused to say whether she would resign if she loses the vote.

Talks with opposition

May reached out to the opposition Labour party last month to overcome deadlock in Parliament after some members of her Conservative party rejected her Brexit plan.

In talks this week, May was seeking a "stable majority in Parliament that will ensure the safe passage of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill and the UK's swift exit from the EU," her spokesman said Tuesday.

Brexit had been due to take place on March 29, but the deadline has since been extended to October 31 to buy the government more time to come up with a plan nearly three years after British voters opted to leave the EU.

Labour wants the UK to remain in the EU customs union in any Brexit scenario. Many Conservative MPs have rejected Britain remaining in the customs union.

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Focus on Europe | 02.05.2019

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May's authority in question 

A Labour party spokesperson said Corbyn had raised "concerns about the prime minister's ability to deliver on any compromise agreement."

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"In particular he raised doubts over the credibility of government commitments, following statements by Conservative MPs and Cabinet ministers seeking to replace the prime minister," his spokesman said.

May has promised to resign as prime minister, should the Brexit deal she struck with the EU last year pass. However, she is under pressure from Brexiteers maneuvering against a compromise with Labour — with some Conservatives eyeing her position.

On Tuesday, 13 former Conservative Cabinet members as well as Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Conservative lawmakers, wrote to May urging her not to agree to Labour's demand for a post-Brexit customs union with the EU.

"You would have lost the loyal middle of the Conservative Party, split our party and with likely nothing to show for it," the letter said. "We urge you to think again."

Peter Bone, a Brexit-supporting Conservative MP, told the UK's Talk Radio on Wednesday that other pro-Brexit Conservative lawmakers "think it (May's Brexit deal) is dead."

"They will vote against it this time ... It seems absurd to bring it back. It is the same thing again, again and again."

Brexit: UK ministers falling like dominoes

We was raabed

Dominic Raab, the UK's Brexit secretary, who was nominally the chief British negotiator for the deal now on the table said on Thursday: " I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU." Raab was reportedly disgruntled at being sidelined in the negotiations in favor of Olly Robbins — a civil servant who's close to May.

Brexit: UK ministers falling like dominoes

On her vey

Esther McVey, the work and pensions minister, tendered her resignation shortly after Raab. In a letter to May she wrote that "It will be no good trying to pretend to [voters] that this deal honors the result of the referendum when it is obvious to everyone it doesn't."

Brexit: UK ministers falling like dominoes

'UK in a half-way house'

Shailesh Vara, the junior Northern Ireland minister, became the first member of May's government to resign over the deal on Thursday. Vara, who voted for remain in the 2016 referendum, said May's deal "leaves the UK in a half-way house with no time limit on when we will finally be a sovereign nation."

Brexit: UK ministers falling like dominoes

Not so brave

Suella Braverman, a junior minister in the Department for Exiting the European Union, also quit saying in a letter "I now find myself unable to sincerely support the deal agreed yesterday by cabinet." The proposed Northern Ireland backstop, she wrote, was not what the British people voted for, and threatened to break up the United Kingdom.

Brexit: UK ministers falling like dominoes

'Unacceptable deal'

Junior Education Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said in her resignation letter that it was now clear to her that "the negotiations have been built on the UK trying to appease the EU and we have allowed ourselves to be led into a deal which is unacceptable to the 17.4 million voters who asked for us to step away from the EU project and become an independent nation once again."

Brexit: UK ministers falling like dominoes

'Does not deliver a good and fair Brexit'

Ranil Jayawardena, parliamentary private secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions, wrote in his resignation letter that the draft deal is not fair to those who voted to leave the EU "taking back control of our laws, our borders and our money. The draft agreement does not do that."

Brexit: UK ministers falling like dominoes

Brothers Johnson

Jo Johnson, the younger brother of Boris, who resigned as foreign secretary over Brexit in July, set the ball rolling last week after he resigned as transport minister over what he called Theresa May's "delusional" Brexit plans. Johnson — who backs Britain remaining in the EU — said he is supporting calls for a second referendum on whether the country should leave the bloc.

cw/cmk (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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