May to launch new Brexit accord push

Once approved, the PM will fulfil the promise to step down

British PM Theresa May will make yet another attempt early next month to have her Brexit deal approved by parliament, news wires reported. She will try to get the deal approved before the summer break, setting a new deadline for her Brexit plan and a potential timetable for her own departure.

But Brexit-supporting rebels in May's party said last Wednesday they would vote down her EU divorce deal when she brings it back to parliament early next month. “I have talked to colleagues, some of whom voted for it last time, and they think it is dead and they will vote against it this time,” Peter Bone, a Conservative lawmaker and a prominent supporter of leaving the EU, told Talk Radio. “I know they wouldn’t vote for it. It seems absurd to bring it back. It is the same thing again, again and again.”

Brexit had been due to take place on March 29, but May was unable to get her divorce deal ratified by parliament, which rejected the so-called Withdrawal Agreement three times, and now the date is set for 31 October. In a change of tack, her spokesman said she was now planning to put forward the Bill, which implements the terms of Britain's departure, in the first week of June to try to secure Brexit before lawmakers go on summer holiday.

“It is imperative we do so then if the UK is to leave the EU before the summer parliamentary recess,” the spokesman said after May met opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as part of talks to secure his party’s support for the bill. “We will therefore be bringing forward the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the week beginning the 3 June,” he said.

But Corbyn, whose negotiating team has been holding talks with government ministers for more than four weeks to find a way to break the deadlock in parliament, raised doubts over whether Labour could back the Bill. “In particular he raised doubts over the credibility of government commitments, following statements by Conservative MPs and cabinet ministers seeking to replace the prime minister,” his spokesman said.

By restarting the process to get parliamentary approval for a deal she agreed with the EU in November, May is also trying to signal to her own party that she will honour her promise to step down as leader when the agreement is passed. The PM is under serious pressure from some of her own lawmakers to set a date for her departure.

As positions harden in parliament, with many wanting to either leave the EU without a deal or to stop Brexit altogether, May has turned to Labour to negotiate a way to break the impasse. Despite opposition from some in her party, senior ministers agreed at a cabinet meeting earlier to press ahead with the talks, May's spokesman said.

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