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Opposition leader pushes for parliament vote on new Brexit referendum

LONDON (Reuters) – British opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn moved a step closer to paving the way for another referendum on European Union membership by trying to use parliament to grab control of Brexit from Prime Minister Theresa May.

FILE PHOTO: Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, pauses as he gives a speech days after he called a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Theresa May’s government, in Hastings, Britain, January 17, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

With the clock ticking down to March 29, the date set in law for Brexit, the United Kingdom is in the deepest political crisis in half a century as it grapples with how, or even whether, to exit the European project it joined in 1973.

Since May’s divorce deal with the EU was rejected by 432-202 MPs last week, the biggest defeat in modern British history, MPs have been trying to plot a course out of the crisis, yet no option has the majority support of parliament.

Labour put forward an amendment seeking to force the government to give parliament time to consider and vote on options to prevent a “no deal” exit including a customs union with the EU, and “a public vote on a deal”.

“It is time for Labour’s alternative plan to take centre stage, while keeping all options on the table, including the option of a public vote,” said Corbyn, who put his name to the amendment.

It was the first time the Labour leadership had put forward in parliament the possibility of a second vote, which was welcomed by some opponents of Brexit.

However, the party said it did not mean it supported another referendum and MPs cautioned that the amendment would not garner the support of parliament.

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