More time needed, Britain’s May returns to parliament for Brexit

More time needed, Britain’s May returns to parliament for Brexit

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LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May returns to parliament on Thursday to seek renewed backing for her plan to renegotiate her Brexit deal with Brussels, just weeks before the March 29 leave date and amid warnings over the risk of a disorderly exit.
While Thursday’s vote is symbolic, it could again become the focus for increasing frustration in parliament over her strategy to leave the European Union, with many accusing May of running down the clock.
If parliament does not ultimately approve a deal, under current legislation Britain will leave without an agreement, an outcome many businesses say would be catastrophic for the world’s fifth largest economy by causing major delays at ports, fracturing international supply chains and hindering investment.
So far, parliament has backed May in asking for more time and supported her attempt to secure changes to the divorce deal, specifically on the so-called backstop arrangement to prevent a return of border controls between Northern Ireland and Ireland.
But lawmakers are increasingly concerned that as the departure date gets closer, Britain risks leaving without a deal or being faced with a stark choice – back May’s deal, force a no-deal Brexit or have no Brexit at all.
Comments by May’s chief Brexit negotiator, Olly Robbins, overheard by an ITV correspondent at a hotel bar in Brussels have done little to boost trust among lawmakers. He was reported as saying lawmakers would have to choose whether to accept a reworked Brexit deal or a potentially significant delay.

Pro-Brexit demonstrators protest outside the Houses of Parliament, in Westminster, London, Britain, February 13, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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