British leader Theresa May's government warned yesterday it might not hold a planned Brexit vote this week unless it feels it can secure a win that avoids a lengthy delay to pulling out of the EU.
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 last year.
She doggedly vowed to bring them back by Wednesday for a third vote that -- if it succeeds -- would see her ask the EU for a "technical" Brexit delay until June.
But May warned yesterday 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 of her top ministers then warned that May might not even submit her deal for a third vote unless she secures sufficient support from her own party members who had previously voted against it.
"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... are prepared to support it so that we can get it through parliament," finance minister Philip Hammond said on the BBC.
"I mean we are not just going to keep presenting it if we haven't moved the dial," Hammond said.
Some European ministers have suggested postponing Brexit until the end of 2020.
A delay that long could give Britain time to decide to either keep much closer EU ties or even have Brexit reversed in a new national poll -- two options welcomed by a range of European officials.