May sends en­voys to sell Brexit

Leader pres­sured to de­lay Tues­day Par­lia­ment vote

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - WORLD - By Dan­ica Kirka The As­so­ci­ated Press

LON­DON — British Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May sent 30 mem­bers of her govern­ment around the coun­try Fri­day to rally pop­u­lar sup­port to pres­sure law­mak­ers to ap­prove her Brexit agree­ment on leav­ing the Euro­pean Union.

The Brexit deal is prov­ing a tough sell, and May is com­ing un­der in­creas­ing pres­sure to de­lay a par­lia­men­tary vote sched­uled for next week in hopes of wring­ing con­ces­sions out of the EU. With three days of British law­mak­ers’ five-day de­bate on the deal over, an anal­y­sis by Bri­tain’s Press As­so­ci­a­tion showed that just 27 of the 163 law­mak­ers who have spo­ken out in­di­cated they would back the deal, com­pared with 122 who said they will vote against it. That lat­ter num­ber in­cludes 29 mem­bers of May’s own Con­ser­va­tive Party.

The big­gest stick­ing point is the so-called back­stop, which could keep the U.K. in a cus­toms union with the EU in­def­i­nitely if the two sides can’t agree on an­other way to pre­vent phys­i­cal bor­der con­trols be­tween North­ern Ire­land, which is part of the U.K., and the Repub­lic of Ire­land, which is part of the EU.

The pro­posal has sparked op­po­si­tion from all sides be­cause the

U.K. would be un­able to leave the back­stop with­out ap­proval from the EU. North­ern Ire­land’s Demo­cratic Union­ist Party, whose 10 law­mak­ers prop up May’s mi­nor­ity govern­ment, op­pose the mea­sure be­cause it would treat North­ern Ire­land dif­fer­ently from the rest of the U.K.

Boris John­son, May’s for­mer for­eign sec­re­tary who is firmly against her Brexit deal, said the back­stop “hands the EU the in­def­i­nite power to bully and black­mail this coun­try to get what­ever it wants” in ne­go­ti­a­tions over the fu­ture re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two sides.

Terms of the deal “re­sem­ble the kind of dik­tat that might be im­posed on a na­tion that has suf­fered a mil­i­tary de­feat…” he wrote in a Face­book post. “The Span­ish will make an­other push for Gi­bral­tar. The Ger­mans will al­most cer­tainly want con­ces­sions on EU mi­grants. And the French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron has made it clear that he will not let Bri­tain out of jail un­til we have sat­is­fied his de­mands for U.K. fish.”

The House of Com­mons is sched­uled to vote on the plan Tues­day. May’s govern­ment has so far re­jected calls to post­pone the vote.

In­stead, she has sent her most se­nior ad­vis­ers, in­clud­ing Trea­sury chief Philip Ham­mond and Health Sec­re­tary Matt Han­cock, to schools, hos­pi­tals and small busi­nesses around the coun­try to take her case to the British peo­ple.

May says most peo­ple “want us to get on with it.”

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