Brexit vote to go ahead despite report ministers seek delay

LONDON (Reuters) – Parliament’s vote on British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal will go ahead on Dec. 11, her office said on Thursday, despite a newspaper report ministers had sought a delay to prevent a defeat so big it might bring down the government.

Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, arrives at Downing Street after appearing on the BBC’s ‘Today’ radio programme, in central London, Britain December 6, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

May has repeatedly said if lawmakers reject her deal with Brussels, which would see Britain exit the EU on March 29 with continued close ties, the only alternatives are leaving without a deal or reversing Brexit.

The British parliament is mid-way through a five-day debate on the Brexit deal, ahead of the vote which will define Britain’s departure from the EU and could determine May’s future as leader. She looks set to lose that vote.

The Times newspaper reported that senior ministers were urging May to delay it for fear of a rout.

“The vote will take place on Tuesday as planned,” May’s spokeswoman said. The House of Commons leader, Andrea Leadsom, also told parliament the vote would go ahead on Dec. 11.

The day before the vote, on Dec. 10, the EU’s top court will deliver a judgment on whether Britain can unilaterally halt Brexit.

EU negotiator Michel Barnier said on Thursday the deal was the best Britain will get, while British finance minister Philip Hammond said it was “simply a delusion” to think the agreement could be renegotiated if parliament rejects it.

May used an interview on BBC radio to press on with her bid to persuade lawmakers to back her deal.

“There are three options: one is to leave the European Union with a deal …

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