World / Politics

Theresa May calls off key vote on Brexit deal to avoid huge defeat, source says

Bloomberg

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is calling off a crucial vote in Parliament on whether to approve her Brexit deal, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The vote in the House of Commons to approve the terms of the U.K.’s divorce from the European Union was due to be held on Tuesday evening but is now due to be rescheduled, according to the person who declined to be named.

It’s still possible that May’s Cabinet will take a different view and push the prime minister to carry on and call the vote as planned for Tuesday evening. She is now holding talks with her top ministers to finalize the government’s position.

May’s office publicly insisted it was going ahead as recently as 11:20 a.m. on Monday in London but the prospect of an overwhelming revolt from members of Parliament forced the premier to think again.

May is expected to make a formal announcement on the way forward to Parliament later in the day.

May’s plan to delay the vote throws the Brexit process into further confusion. She is due back in Brussels at a summit of EU on Thursday and is expected to ask for fresh concessions in an attempt to revive the chances of getting her deal through Parliament.

The stakes are high. If Parliament refuses to ratify the withdrawal agreement, the U.K. will be on course to leave the EU without a deal, unleashing political and economic chaos. May herself could be forced from office and the U.K. might need a fresh election or a new referendum to resolve the crisis.

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