UK Gov't Defiant Over Brexit Deal 03/26 06:28
British Prime Minister Theresa May's government remained defiant after
Parliament took partial control of the stalled process of leaving the European
Union, arguing Tuesday that the maneuvering simply underscores the need for
lawmakers to approve her twice-defeated deal.
LONDON (AP) -- British Prime Minister Theresa May's government remained
defiant after Parliament took partial control of the stalled process of leaving
the European Union, arguing Tuesday that the maneuvering simply underscores the
need for lawmakers to approve her twice-defeated deal.
The House of Commons voted Monday to take control of the parliamentary
timetable away from the government so that lawmakers can vote on alternatives
to the withdrawal agreement May negotiated with the EU.
But Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC on Tuesday that the
government won't "pre-commit" to accepting the option backed by lawmakers
because they may come up with a plan that is impractical.
"The best way through this impasse is the one deal that has been negotiated
with the EU that can be delivered quickly now," Hancock said, referring to the
prime minister's agreement.
May's authority is hanging by a thread after 30 members of her Conservative
Party defied her instructions and voted for parliament to take control of the
process. Three government ministers resigned rather than vote with the
The prime minister is continuing to push for approval of her deal with the
EU even though the House of Commons overwhelmingly rejected it during votes in
January and again in March.
Lawmakers who backed Monday's motion, which passed 329-302, hope to find an
alternative that can command a majority in Parliament by holding a series of
"indicative votes" on other options. Those alternatives include a "soft Brexit"
that maintains close economic ties with the EU or scrapping Britain's departure
Richard Harrington, who resigned as a business minister to vote in favor of
Monday's motion, accused the government of "playing roulette" with people's
Cabinet ministers gathering Tuesday for their regular meeting are expected
to demand that Conservative Party lawmakers be allowed to follow their
consciences, rather than vote the party line, during the debate Wednesday on
alternatives to the prime minister's deal.
"Parliament should seek urgently to resolve the situation by considering
alternatives freely, without the instruction of party whips, and government
should adopt any feasible outcome as its own in order to progress matters,"
said Alistair Burt, who quit his role in the Foreign Office after defying May
"I did not believe the government was prepared to do that, so had to vote to
ensure this happens."