UK lawmakers prepare to deliver verdict on EU divorce deal
LONDON (AP) — British lawmakers were preparing to deliver their verdict on Prime Minister Theresa May’s divorce deal with the European Union on Tuesday after more than two years of political upheaval.
All signs point to it receiving a resounding thumbs-down from Parliament, a development that would throw British politics further into turmoil, just 10 weeks before Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29.
Despite a last-ditch plea from May for legislators to give the deal “a second look,” it faces deep opposition from both sides of Britain’s divide over Europe.
Pro-Brexit lawmakers say the deal will leave Britain bound indefinitely to EU rules, while pro-EU politicians favour an even closer economic relationship with the bloc.
That leaves the agreement facing likely defeat on a day that could bring a very British mix of high drama, low insults and convoluted parliamentary procedure.
The government and opposition parties ordered lawmakers to cancel all other plans to be on hand for the crucial vote. One Labour legislator, Tulip Siddiq, delayed the scheduled cesarean birth of her son so she could attend.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove urged colleagues not to let their visions of a perfect Brexit get in the way of what he said was a good deal.
“The real danger is if people do not vote for the government this evening, we face either a no-deal Brexit, with the short-term economic damage that would bring, or worse: no Brexit at all,” Gove told the BBC.
Lawmakers are scheduled to vote Tuesday evening, after the last of five days of debate on the deal struck between May’s government and the EU in November.
May postponed a vote on the deal in December to avoid a resounding defeat, and there are few signs sentiment has changed significantly since then.