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May delays vote on final Brexit deal due to Brussels negotiations

By
Daniel Uria
British Prime Minister Theresa May delayed a vote on the final Brexit deal as she is set to hold negotiations with European Union representatives in Brussels. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
British Prime Minister Theresa May delayed a vote on the final Brexit deal as she is set to hold negotiations with European Union representatives in Brussels. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 24 (UPI) -- British Prime Minister Theresa May delayed a vote on the government's final Brexit deal, as she continues negotiations in Brussels.

May said her team would return to Belgium on Tuesday to negotiate terms on Britain's exit from the European Union with representatives from the bloc, pushing back a so-called meaningful vote on the deal that was originally scheduled for Wednesday.

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"We won't bring a meaningful vote to parliament this week, but we will ensure that that happens by 12 March," May said. "But it's still within our grasp to leave the EU by the 29 March and that is what we are planning to do.

Members of the opposition Labor Party condemned the delay, as Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer described it as the "height of irresponsibility."

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"Theresa May is recklessly running down the clock in a desperate attempt to force MPs to choose between her deal and no deal," he said.

In the days before the vote, members of Parliament will have the chance to draft amendments to a neutral motion on Brexit, including delaying the article 50 process -- the legal process that allows member states to withdraw from the EU -- or calling for a second referendum on the decision to leave.

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Three members of May's Parliament, Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark, announced Saturday that they would vote to extend Article 50 to prevent the "disastrous" result of leaving the EU on March 29 without a deal.

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"It would be better to seek to extend Article 50 and delay our date of departure rather than crash out of the European Union on March 29," they wrote.

Despite the opposition, May said she remained confident in the prospect of reaching a deal with the European Union before the deadline.

"What we see around the cabinet table are strong views on the issue of Europe. What we are doing as a government is ensuring we are doing everything we can to leave the Europe Union with a deal," she said. "People are talking about the extension of article 50 as if it solves the issue when of course it won't. It defers the point of decision. There comes a point when we must make that decision."

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