'Time's up, Theresa'? | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 26, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:06 AM, March 26, 2019

'Time's up, Theresa'?

UK PM admits still not enough support for her Brexit deal amid ouster plot

Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday battled to keep control of Britain's exit from the European Union as some in her party called on her to quit and parliament plotted to wrest Brexit away from the government.

At one of the most important junctures for the country in at least a generation, British politics was at fever pitch and, nearly three years since the 2016 EU membership referendum, it was still unclear how, when or if Brexit will take place.

The PM yesterday admitted that there was not yet enough support for her to put her Brexit deal to a vote in parliament for a third time, but she would continue with talks with lawmakers to try to get their backing.

May said that parliament would debate secondary legislation tomorrow to formally change the date of Brexit in British law.

The leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, yesterday said that May's approach to Brexit had become "a national embarrassment" that risked Britain leaving the European Union without an agreement.

With May humiliated and weakened, ministers lined up to insist she was still in charge and to deny any part in, or knowledge of, a reported plot to demand she name a date to leave office at a cabinet meeting yesterday.

"Time's up, Theresa," Rupert Murdoch's The Sun newspaper said in a front page editorial. It said her one chance of getting her Brexit deal approved by parliament was to name a date for her departure.

Days before the original exit date of March 29, British ministers and lawmakers were still publicly discussing an array of options including leaving with May's deal, with no deal, revoking the Article 50 divorce papers, calling another referendum or going for a closer relationship with the EU.

May had to delay that departure date due to the political deadlock in London. Now Britain will leave on May 22 if her deal is approved by parliament. If not, Britain will have until April 12 to offer a new plan or decide to leave without a treaty.

The EU ramped up the pressure yesterday, saying it had completed no-deal preparations as this outcome on April 12 was looking "increasingly likely".

Just 24 hours after hundreds of thousands of people marched through London on Saturday to demand another referendum, May called rebel lawmakers to her Chequers residence on Sunday in an attempt to break the deadlock.

Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker attended along with ministers David Lidington and Michael Gove who had been reportedly lined up as caretaker prime ministers. They were forced on Sunday to deny they wanted May's job.

May told the lawmakers she would quit if they voted for her twice-defeated European Union divorce deal, ITV news said. But there was also concern May could pivot to a no-deal Brexit as the only way to survive in power.

To get it passed, May must win over at least 75 MPs - dozens of rebels in her Conservative Party, some opposition Labour Party MPs and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up her minority government.

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