British Prime Minister Theresa May has announced she is postponing her final vote on her Brexit deal, avoiding a sure defeat in the UK Parliament today.
May came to this decision after coming to a conclusion that she failed to pull in sufficient number of votes as 100 Tory MPs declared they opposed the deal.
“If we went ahead and held the vote tomorrow, the deal would be defeated by a significant margin,” May told Parliament on Monday. “We will therefore defer the vote scheduled for tomorrow and not proceed to divide the house at this time.”
May’s drastic move is obviously intended to buy her more time to renegotiate her Brexit deal and seek new assurances from Brussels in order to avoid chaotic consequences of a parliamentary defeat. As the Brexit deadline nears, there’s not much time left for May to maneuver the deal to her favor.
EU officials stated that the best they can offer would be “clarifications” of the withdrawal agreement, rather than reopening the text.
Earlier on Monday, a commission spokesman told reporters in Brussels: “This deal is the best and only deal possible. We will not renegotiate the deal that is on the table right now. That is very clear.”
“Our position has therefore not changed and as far as we’re concerned the UK is leaving the EU on the 29 March 2019. We are prepared for all scenarios.”
Ireland’s Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar told reporters it was not possible to renegotiate the backstop: “The reason we’ve ended up in the solution we have is because of the red lines the UK itself laid down.”
Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament’s Brexit coordinator, tweeted:
“I can’t follow anymore. After two years of negotiations, the Tory government wants to delay the vote. Just keep in mind that we will never let the Irish down. This delay will further aggravate the uncertainty for people and businesses. It’s time to make up their mind.”