Feb. 12 (UPI) — British Prime Minister Theresa May promised lawmakers Tuesday they’ll get a final vote on the deal she brokered with the European Union, as soon as the key issue with Ireland is settled.
The British leader asked for more time to smooth over the issue and achieve the changes lawmakers want.
“The talks are at a crucial stage. We now all need to hold our nerve to get the changes this House requires and deliver Brexit on time,” she said Tuesday. “Opposing no deal is not enough to stop it. we must agree with a deal that this house can support and that is what I’m working to achieve.”
May assured lawmakers she will update them on progress on Feb. 26. If there’s no deal by then, she said she’ll give lawmakers a say in what to do next.
The prospect of a no-deal exit from the European Union has sparked a firestorm in Parliament as lawmakers face the proposition Britain could be on its own with hard borders with its neighbors — an issue known as the “backstop.”
Commons leader Andrea Leadsom said a “meaningful vote” may not happen until after an EU summit March 21. Britain is set to leave to the EU March 29, with or without an agreement.
The backstop remains the greatest sticking point. The Republic of Ireland, which will remain in the EU, wants to avoid a hard border with Britain. Northern Ireland, which shares a border with Britain, is set to leave the alliance but also wants a trade deal with Britain.
There’s growing concern Britain-based businesses will relocate without an exit deal. Nissan has already scrapped manufacturing plans and others have threatened to move somewhere else.
Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has accused May of “running down the clock” to force lawmakers to accept her deal, which does not have sufficient support in London.
Scottish National Party leader Ian Blackford called May a “liar,” which is prohibited by Commons rules. He withdrew the statement at the request of Speaker John Bercow.
If there is no deal, May hasn’t ruled out eliminating all tariffs on imports.