May loses con­trol over Brexit endgame in war with Par­lia­ment

Sec­ond ref­er­en­dum to al­low pub­lic to over­turn orig­i­nal vote may be gath­er­ing steam

StarMetro Edmonton - - COVER STORY - Tim Ross, Robert Hut­ton and Jes­sica Shankle­man

Bri­tain’s Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May’s divorce agree­ment with the EU is in jeop­ardy as Par­lia­ment has the po­ten­tial to de­cide on a Plan B. U.K. Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May is locked in a power strug­gle with the Bri­tish Par­lia­ment that looks set to de­ter­mine the fi­nal shape of Brexit.

May lost three key votes on a day of drama in the House of Com­mons on Tues­day, high­light­ing the weak­ness of her po­si­tion as she tries to rat­ify the deal she’s struck with the Euro­pean Union.

The re­sult is that Par­lia­ment now has the po­ten­tial to de­cide on Bri­tain’s “plan B” if — as ex­pected — it re­jects May’s divorce agree­ment with the EU in the big­gest vote of all next week.

That’s not what the premier wanted. It raises the pos­si­bil­ity that mem­bers of Par­lia­ment could seek to pur­sue a softer with­drawal — in­clud­ing po­ten­tially stay­ing in the bloc’s sin­gle mar­ket — or even at­tempt to stop Brexit en­tirely. One op­tion that could gather mo­men­tum over the weeks ahead is for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum to al­low the pub­lic to over­turn the de­ci­sion of the first.

“No longer must the will of Par­lia­ment — re­flect­ing the will of the peo­ple — be di­min­ished,” Tory law­maker Do­minic Grieve said after en­gi­neer­ing one of May’s de­feats Tues­day. “Par­lia­ment must now take back con­trol and then give the fi­nal de­ci­sion back to the pub­lic be­cause, in the end, only the peo­ple can sort this out.”

But ac­cord­ing to Leader of the House of Com­mons An­drea Lead­som, the cru­cial vote didn’t rule out a no-deal Brexit.

“It ba­si­cally says Par­lia­ment, where we know there is no ma­jor­ity for one out­come or an­other, will have more say over this,” she told BBC Ra­dio on Wed­nes­day.

On Dec. 11, Par­lia­ment will vote fi­nally on whether to ac­cept or re­ject the 585-page with­drawal agree­ment that May and the EU reached in No­vem­ber. Few of­fi­cials in May’s gov­ern­ment be­lieve they have much chance of win­ning, with some To­ries pre­dict­ing a heavy de­feat.

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