Prime Minister Theresa May warned that if British lawmakers vote against the latest version of her European Union (EU) withdrawal agreement, they would be “voting to stop Brexit.”
Earlier in her address, May made a major concession offering MPs the chance to vote on whether to hold a new referendum on the country’s membership in the European Union—but only if it backs her thrice-rejected Brexit agreement.
The prime minister plans to ask the House of Commons to vote in early June on a withdrawal agreement bill, in what she calls a “last chance” to seal a Brexit deal.
In a speech Tuesday, May 21, May reiterated that the consequences of not supporting her deal “could hardly be greater.”
“Reject this deal and leaving the EU with a negotiated deal anytime soon will be dead in the water,” she added.
Britain was due to leave the EU on March 29, but the bloc extended the deadline to Oct. 31 amid the political impasse.
Talks on securing a compromise between May’s Conservatives and the opposition Labor Party broke down last week.
May said she will try again the week of June 3 by asking lawmakers to vote on a withdrawal agreement bill implementing the departure terms.
She has tried to secure backing from lawmakers with promises to maintain high standards on workers’ rights and environmental protection issues that are priorities for the left-of-center Labor Party.
She also said lawmakers will get to decide how close a trade relationship they should have with the EU after Brexit, in a concession to Labor’s demands for a Customs union.
Confronted with a question of whether the Brexit impasse is to blame for her party’s dislike of her, the prime minister retorted: “But look what I say is this isn’t just about me. If it was just about me and how I’d voted we’d already have left the European Union.”
“Actually, this is about a responsibility across the whole of the House of Commons for us to come together and find a way of delivering on the instruction people gave us,” she continued before the news conference.
Includes reporting from The Associated Press