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  • Prime Minister Theresa May speaking about Brexit in the House of Commons Thursday.

    Prime Minister Theresa May speaking about Brexit in the House of Commons Thursday. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 November 2018
Opinion

As May loses support for her proposed Brexit deal within the Conservative Party, Labour issues new calls for a referendum.

A draft of the Brexit deal plunged the government of British Prime Minister Theresa May into chaos Friday after provoking the resignations of senior ministers and calls for a vote of no confidence in her leadership.

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More than two years after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, it is still unclear how, on what terms or even if it will leave the EU as planned on March 29, 2019.

May has sought to negotiate a Brexit deal ensuring the United Kingdom leaves in the smoothest way possible. But Brexit minister Dominic Raab resigned on Thursday over May's proposed deal and lawmakers in her own party bluntly told her that the Brexit deal would not pass Parliament.

To leave the EU on the terms of her deal, May would need to get the backing of about 320 of Parliament's 650 lawmakers. The deal is due to be discussed at an EU summit on Nov. 25.

According to a Reuters report, British media have been awash with rumors that May would face an imminent vote of no confidence in her leadership from her own Conservative Party lawmakers.

"For the sake of the Conservative Party and indeed for our country's destiny, I honestly believe that (it) is now time to seek fresh leadership that can carry this country forward outside of the European Union," Brexit-supporting lawmaker Mark Francois wrote in a letter headlined "She Just Doesn't Listen".

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Jo Johnson, who resigned as a minister last week, said the situation marked the worst failure of statesmanship since the 1956 Suez Canal crisis when Britain was forced by the U.S. to withdraw its troops from Egypt.

Resistance from her own party and cabinet members leaves May facing a series of uncertain scenarios, including being replaced as PM; the U.K. leaving the bloc with no agreement; or another referendum.

Ben Bradshaw, Labour Party politicians and member of Parliament, told Bloomberg News in an interview Thursday night, that the best way to move forward is to call for a new referendum. "We can only resolve this by another referendum, putting the decision back in the people and the people's vote," he said.  

The Labour party is criticizing May's deal because it does not keep the U.K. in the EU's Customs Union or close to the Single Market permanently. "We think that is absolutely essential if we are going to minimize the economic damage from Brexit," Bradshaw explained.

If the deal falls through, the Labour Party will seek a general election and if that is to viable it will call for a referendum on the Brexit decision and campaign to remain within the EU.  

By seeking to preserve the closest possible ties with the EU, May has upset her party's many advocates of a clean break, and Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up her minority government.

The EU and Britain need an agreement to keep trade flowing between the world's biggest trading bloc and the U.K., home to the biggest international financial center.

Proponents of closer relations with the EU in her own party and the Labour opposition say the deal squanders the advantages of membership for little gain.

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