Brexit could be delayed to get better deal – Ex-minister


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Former British Defence Minister, Michael Fallon, said on Tuesday that it may be in Britain’s interests to delay leaving the EU so negotiators can agree a better divorce deal.

“This is not a good deal and we need a better deal,” Fallon said.

“And if it’s possible to get a better deal, to send the negotiators back to Brussels for two or three months — even to postpone the actual leaving date for two or three months.

“I still think that would be the long-term interest of the country.”

Fallon said he did not believe ousting Prime Minister Theresa May would help the situation.

Similarly,  some Brexit-supporting lawmakers in British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party could support her divorce deal if she sets out when she will quit, The Times newspaper reported.

With just four months to go until the UK is due to leave the EU on March 29, the fate of May’s divorce deal is uncertain as she faces significant opposition in parliament from lawmakers in all parties.

The prime minister has 314 active Conservative lawmakers in the 650-seat House of Commons and would need around 320 votes to ratify the deal under current attendance projections.

The Times, under a headline “Brexiteers will back May’s deal if she gives resignation date,” said May was coming under pressure from some of her own lawmakers to set out a timetable for her departure.

A promise from May to quit soon after the United Kingdom’s exit on March 29 would help to pacify some Conservatives, including senior ministers, who want Britain to push for a Canada-style agreement, The Times quoted sources in the cabinet as saying.

The Times said some opponents of May’s divorce plan could still be persuaded to back the legally binding withdrawal agreement if they were confident that the political declaration on the subsequent relationship was doomed.

“We know that the future relationship is not binding. This means she is the problem, not the deal per se, since it leaves plenty of flexibility for a successor to organise technical solutions for the Irish border and move towards Canada,” a source was quoted as saying.

In another development, Britain’s government has no “plan B” if it cannot get the terms of its withdrawal agreement through parliament, Cabinet Office Minister, David Lidington, said on Tuesday.

“There’s no plan B because the EU itself is saying the deal that is on the table is the one that we have had to compromise over,” Lidington said.

May warned on Monday that Britain would be thrust into the unknown if parliament rejects the Brexit deal she has negotiated with the EU, as lawmakers from all sides lined up to criticise the agreement.

Under the deal secured with EU leaders on Sunday, Britain will leave the bloc in March with continued close trade ties, but the odds now look stacked against May getting it approved by a divided British parliament.

As May tried to win over her critics, lawmakers from both her own Conservatives and opposition parties attacked the deal, warning that parliament would not support it, and urging her to set out an alternative plan. (Reuters/NAN)

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