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British PM says parliament can vote on Brexit delay if MPs reject her deal

British PM says parliament can vote on Brexit delay if MPs reject her deal

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is seen outside Downing Street in London, Britain, Feb 20, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Simon Dawson)

LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday (Feb 26) she would allow parliament to vote on Mar 14 on whether to delay Brexit if MPs reject both her deal and the prospect of leaving the EU without an agreement.

If those two options are rejected the government would put forward "a motion on whether parliament wants to see a short, limited extension to Article 50", May said, adding that any delay could only be until the end of June.

"An extension beyond the end of June would mean the UK taking part in the European Parliament elections. What kind of message would that send to the more than 17 million people who voted to leave the EU nearly three years ago now?" she said.

READ: Theresa May buckles: British PM to rule out no-deal Brexit

The prime minister said she still wanted Brexit to happen on the scheduled date of Mar 29 and repeated her promise to hold a parliamentary vote on her deal on Mar 12.

If the deal is rejected, as it was overwhelmingly by parliament last month, the government would then hold a vote on Mar 13 on whether MPs want a no-deal Brexit.

The vote on a possible delay would be the following day.

"Let me be clear, I do not want to see Article 50 extended. Our absolute focus should be on working to get a deal and leaving on Mar 29," she told parliament.

She added: "I believe that, if we have to, we will ultimately make a success of no deal".

May said her new commitments were a response to MPs who were "genuinely worried about time running out".

Six ministers have threatened to resign in recent days unless May rules out Britain crashing out of the European Union after 46 years with no agreement in place.

Source: AFP/reuters/aa

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