Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday set out a “new deal” for Britain’s departure from the European Union, her fourth attempt to break an impasse in parliament over Brexit that has plunged her government into crisis.
May said British MPs will be able to vote on whether or not to hold a second Brexit referendum -- but only if they approve draft legislation to implement the divorce agreement with the EU.
The government would also allow parliament to decide whether to remain temporarily in a customs union with the European Union, she said.
May outlined a series of incentives for MPs to support her Brexit deal, saying there was “one last chance” to end the deadlock, reported AFP.
The cabinet earlier agreed the idea of a temporary customs relationship until the next general election, and measures on the environment and workers’ rights.
These will be included in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, to be put to a vote in the Commons in early June.
The SNP and some Tory Brexiteers have already said they will vote against.
May wants to get her withdrawal deal, agreed with the EU in November, through parliament, so, as promised, she can leave office having at least finalised the first part of Britain’s departure and prevented a “no deal” Brexit, an abrupt departure that many businesses fear will create an economic shock.
May’s finance minister, Philip Hammond, rammed the point home in parliament yesterday when he said a no deal Brexit would leave Britain poorer. He is expected to send the same message to business leaders in a speech later in the day, reported Reuters.
“The 2016 Leave campaign was clear that we would leave with a deal,” he said.
“So to advocate for ‘no deal’ is to hijack the result of the referendum, and in doing so, knowingly to inflict damage on our economy and our living standards. Because all the preparation in the world will not avoid the consequences of no deal.”