With parliament vote in doubt, PM tours UK to drum up support for Brexit deal

LONDON/BELFAST (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May began a tour of the United Kingdom to drum up support for her Brexit divorce deal with the European Union, while her deputy said on Tuesday parliament might reject it if asked to vote on it now.

FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement in the House of Commons, London, Britain November 26, 2018. Parliament TV handout via REUTERS FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS/File Photo

May has warned sceptical members of parliament that if they reject the deal the world’s fifth largest economy will either leave without an agreement or Brexit could be delayed or even reversed. The vote in parliament is scheduled for Dec. 11.

Amid demands from British lawmakers for May to seek a better deal from the EU, a step Brussels has said it will not countenance, her de-facto deputy David Lidington told Sky News: “If the vote were today, it would be a difficult one to win, but I think that we have time between now and (Dec. 11) to make the case.”

In a separate interview with the BBC, Lidington, the cabinet office minister, said it was “wishful thinking” on the part of some MPs that the EU would offer an alternative plan.

“There’s no plan B because the European Union itself is saying the deal that is on the table is the one that we have had to compromise over,” he said.

May sealed a deal with EU leaders on Sunday that would see Britain leave the bloc on March 29 with continued close ties, but now faces an uphill struggle to get it approved by a divided parliament where MPs of all parties and on both sides of the Brexit debate have criticised it.

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