May stick­ing with Brexit plan af­ter an­other of­fi­cial exit

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - NATION | WORLD - By Jill Law­less

LON­DON — Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May said Sat­ur­day she was de­ter­mined to win law­mak­ers’ back­ing for her Brexit deal, af­ter a min­is­ter who quit her gov­ern­ment said her divorce agree­ment would leave Bri­tain out­num­bered and out­ma­neu­vered in fu­ture ne­go­ti­a­tions with the Euro­pean Union.

Ex-Uni­ver­si­ties and Science Min­is­ter Sam Gy­imah likened the deal to play­ing soc­cer against op­po­nents who “are the ref­eree and they make the rules as well.”

May is bat­tling to per­suade Bri­tish law­mak­ers to back the Brexit agree­ment when Par­lia­ment votes on Dec. 11. She and EU lead­ers say re­ject­ing the divorce terms, which were en­dorsed by the EU last week­end, would leave the U.K. fac­ing a messy, eco­nom­i­cally dam­ag­ing “no-deal” Brexit on March 29.

But many Bri­tish law­mak­ers on both sides of the Brexit de­bate op­pose the deal — Brex­i­teers be­cause it keeps Bri­tain bound closely to the EU, and pro-EU politi­cians be­cause it erects bar­ri­ers be­tween the U.K. and its big­gest trad­ing part­ner.

May, at­tend­ing a Group of 20 sum­mit in Buenos Aires, said the mes­sage she was get­ting from other world lead­ers was the im­por­tance of “cer­tainty” about the Brexit path.

She said at a news con­fer­ence that “pass­ing this deal … will take us to cer­tainty for the fu­ture, and that fail­ure to do that would only lead to un­cer­tainty.”

Gy­imah, who backed re­main­ing in the EU dur­ing Bri­tain’s 2016 ref­er­en­dum, said the agree­ment was “a deal in name only.”

“We’ve got a wish-list of as­pi­ra­tions that we in­tend to ne­go­ti­ate with the EU (af­ter) we’ve lost our voice, our veto and our vote,” he told Sky News.

Gy­imah is the seventh mem­ber of May’s Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment to quit over the Brexit deal. His res­ig­na­tion came af­ter May said Bri­tain was aban­don­ing ef­forts to re­tain full ac­cess to the EU’s Galileo satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem af­ter Brexit.

Bri­tain has been a ma­jor player in de­vel­op­ing the sys­tem, but the EU says only mem­ber states can work on de­vel­op­ing the high-se­cu­rity en­crypted parts of Galileo for use by the mil­i­tary and crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture sec­tors.

May said, given the EU’s de­ci­sion “to bar the U.K. from be­ing fully in­volved in de­vel­op­ing all as­pects of Galileo, it is only right that we find al­ter­na­tives.” She said Bri­tain would de­velop its own sat-nav sys­tem, at an es­ti­mated cost of sev­eral bil­lion dol­lars.


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