May pushes for Brexit deal with new timetable

British Prime Minister Theresa May rounded up her ministers on Friday to plot a renewed bid to convince MPs to back the EU divorce deal, after securing a delay to Brexit .

The premier faces daunting odds to persuade British lawmakers to support a plan they have already overwhelmingly rejected twice , by a new April 12 deadline agreed with European Union leaders .

If May succeeds, Britain — which was staring at a cliff -edge deadline of March 29 for leaving the EU — will depart on May 22 under the terms of a withdrawal agreement struck with Brussels last year .

But if MPs defeat the accord again next week , as appears likely , then Britain must outline a new plan or face a no- deal Brexit as early as April 12, unless London decides to request another extension .

A further extension would require Britain to take part in European Parliament elections in May , despite having voted to leave the bloc three years ago. “ Until April 12 , anything is possible , ” EU Council President Donald Tusk told reporters on Friday at the close of the EU summit in Brussels.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the bloc’ s leaders would need another summit with May to discuss how to proceed if MPs reject the agreement again .

That prospect increased on Friday after Northern Ireland ’ s Democratic Unionist Party , which props up May ’ s government in parliament , accused the prime minister of “ failure” at the EU summit.

“ The government has been far too willing to capitulate, ” Nigel Dodds, the DUP ’ s leader in the British parliament, said in a statement , adding that “ nothing has changed as far as the withdrawal agreement is concerned ” .

The pound rose on news of the delay but is likely to remain volatile amid uncertainty over what path Britain will now take .

Stocks in London ended the day 2 . 0 per cent lower .

– ‘ National humiliation ’ –
Parliament has been deadlocked for months over Brexit , with lawmakers unable to decide how to implement the 2016 referendum vote to leave, reflecting bitter divisions in the country as a whole .

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