LONDON (Reuters) – MPs voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to seek a delay in Britain’s exit from the European Union, setting the stage for Prime Minister Theresa May to renew efforts to get her divorce deal approved by parliament next week.
MPs approved by 412 votes to 202 a statement setting out the option to request a short delay if a Brexit deal can be agreed by March 20 — or a longer delay if no deal can be agreed in time.
Just 15 days before Britain is due to leave the European Union, May is using the threat of a long delay to push Brexit supporters in her Conservative Party finally to back her deal.
A new vote on her deal is likely next week, when those MPs will have to decide whether to back a deal they feel does not offer a clean break from the EU, or accept that Brexit could be watered down or even thwarted by a lengthy delay.
Earlier, MPs voted by 334 to 85 against a second referendum on EU membership. Most Labour MPs did not back the measure and even campaigners for a so-called People’s Vote said the time was not yet right for parliament to vote on the matter.
The government narrowly survived an attempt to give MPs control of the parliamentary agenda on