May sticking with Brexit plan after another official exit
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.