Brexit vote: “Act like “democrats and patriots”, pleads May to MPs

LONDON: Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday has urged MPs to act like “democrats and patriots” and vote for her Brexit deal.

She doggedly vowed to bring them back by Wednesday for a third vote that — if it succeeds — would see her ask her European counterparts for a “technical” Brexit extension until the end of June.

But May cautioned Sunday that another defeat would almost certainly require a delay so long that Britain would have to take part in European Parliament elections in May.

This would mean “we will not leave the EU for many months, if ever,” May wrote in The Sunday Telegraph.

Two top ministers then warned that May might hold another vote only if she felt confident of winning over rebellious members of her own party and its Northern Irish coalition partners the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Photo: AFP

“It would be difficult to justify having a vote if you knew you were going to lose it,” International Trade Secretary Liam Fox told Sky News.

“We will only bring the deal back if we are confident that enough of our colleagues and the DUP are prepared to support it so that we can get it through parliament,” finance minister Philip Hammond said on the BBC.

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“I mean we are not just going to keep presenting it if we haven’t moved the dial.”

London has been paralysed by political inaction and chaos as it barrels toward the March 29 end of its 46-year involvement in the bloc without a plan.

Parliament has twice resoundingly rejected the separation terms May reached with the other 27 EU leaders at the end of last year.

Some European ministers have suggested postponing Brexit until the end of 2020.

A delay of 21 months could give Britain time to decide to either keep much closer EU ties or have Brexit reversed in a new national poll — two possibilities welcomed by a range of European officials.

The 27 other EU leaders will discuss their Brexit options at a summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.