British Lawmakers to Seek 3-Month Brexit Delay

UK Parliament  Jessica Taylor Theresa May and the Conservative frontbench await the result of vote on her Brexit deal

The lawmakers have already twice rejected her plans for Brexit, but by law, Britain will leave the European Union on March 29 with or without a deal, unless it cancels Brexit or secures the delay.

The House of Commons voted 314-312 against a call to postpone Britain's departure and rearrange Parliament's timetable so that lawmakers could try to find an alternative to Prime Minister Theresa May's rejected Brexit divorce deal.

The Prime Minister apparently breaking her word by attempting to Article 50 - she will require the EU's agreement to do so - will leave many wondering whether they can trust her other promises; for example her vow to stand aside as party leader before the next general election, made in exchange for Tory MPs not backing her ouster in a recent vote of no confidence.

In essence, she is now framing the choice for eurosceptics as her deal versus no Brexit (or a distant, softer Brexit), rather than the previous implicit choice of her deal versus a no-deal Brexit.

Now, MPs hope their 412 to 202 vote on Thursday will help them agree a deal.

And if we can't decide tonight to leave the European Union under the terms the Prime Minister has negotiated, then I can't see really how this government can continue in office.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the prime minister should accept that her deal and no deal were "no longer viable options".

Currently Britain is set to leave without a deal, something that May's government and opposition MPs have warned could be chaotic, but that pro-Brexit MPs have noted would simply revert Britain to World Trade Organization (WTO) terms, and have downplayed the disruption it would cause.

The result paves the way for politicians to approve an extension to the Brexit timeline in a vote in parliament later Thursday.

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Thursday's vote saw four amendments to the motion defeated in favor of May's government.

May said the government would not instruct her own party's lawmakers how to vote, as would normally be the case.

Trump has previously said that UK prime minister Theresa May's Brexit withdrawal deal "sounds like a great deal for the EU" and could harm UK-US trading relations.

On Thursday, President of the European Council Donald Tusk took to social media to reveal that he will be appealing to the EU27 members to remain open to the idea of offering the United Kingdom a long extension period, if they need time to rethink their Brexit strategy.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's lead Brexit spokesman, said in a tweet there was "no reason at all" for the European Council to agree to a delay "unless there is a clear majority in the House of Commons for something precise".

The EU has done "all that is possible to reach an agreement" and the solution to the deadlock "can only be found in London".

MPs have twice rejected Mrs May's deal to withdraw from the EU.

May gave them a boost on Wednesday, telling parliament: "We could leave with the deal which this government has negotiated, but subject to a second referendum, but that would risk no Brexit at all".

Elsewhere in Europe, German leader Angela Merkel said on Wednesday that securing an Article 50 delay to the June 30 would be "easy", British paper The Guardian reported, citing senior diplomatic sources. The motion is not legally binding and does not rule out Britain leaving the EU.

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