UK lawmakers rebuff May as she tries to salvage Brexit deal
LONDON (AP) — Britain’s battle over Brexit turned into political trench warfare between Parliament and the government Wednesday as Prime Minister Theresa May brought her little-loved EU divorce agreement back to lawmakers who appear determined to thwart her plans.
A month after postponing a vote on the deal to avert near-certain defeat, May urged Parliament to support it to prevent Britain leaving the EU on March 29 with no agreement on exit terms and future relations, an outcome that could cause economic and social upheaval.
“The only way to avoid ‘no deal’ is to vote for the deal,” May told lawmakers in the House of Commons on the first of five days of debate ahead of a vote on Tuesday.
May postponed the vote in mid-December when it became clear lawmakers would resoundingly reject the agreement, a compromise deal that has left both pro-European and pro-Brexit politicians unhappy.
Rather than warming to May’s deal since then, lawmakers have tried to wrest control of Brexit from the government and put it in the hands of Parliament.
An alliance of governing Conservative and opposition legislators has dealt May two defeats in as many days — symbolic setbacks that suggest a power shift from the executive to the legislature.
On Wednesday, the House of Commons voted to prevent the government from delaying key decisions as Brexit approaches.
Lawmakers approved a motion saying that if Parliament rejects May’s divorce deal, the government must come up with a “Plan B” within three working days. Lawmakers would have the power to amend that plan.