May could face call for government of national unity in UK

The pound slipped as lawmakers defied May's plea to end the deadlock that has plunged Britain into a deep political crisis, defeating her withdrawal agreement by 344 votes to 286.

The United Kingdom was due to leave the European Union on March 29 but the political deadlock in London forced May to ask the bloc for a delay.

Mr Farage said he would contest the European Parliament elections if a longer Brexit extension meant the United Kingdom would have to take part.

"I think she would need to look very closely at that", he told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.

The European Commission responded by saying a "No-deal scenario on 12 April is now likely", adding that the benefits of the Withdrawal Agreement would not be replicated under such circumstances.

May had framed the vote as the last opportunity to ensure Britain actually left the European Union, making a passionate plea to lawmakers to put aside party differences and strongly-held beliefs. "This leaves only the other route, which is for the British to make clear what they want before April 12". The date was postponed to allow Mrs May more time to find a Brexit solution.

Lewis, the Conservative Party chairman, said all options were on the table but that a customs union with the EU - an idea backed by the opposition Labour Party and some Conservatives - would be hard. Parliament on Monday will vote on various alternatives to May's strategy. Options include asking the European Union for a long delay, parliament forcing an election, or a "no-deal" exit.

"What happens on Monday is that process of Parliament taking control of this continues", he said.


The EU wants Britain to explain its Brexit plan B by 8 April as 10 April will be held just two days before the new Brexit deadline, which was set for 12 April.

"The risk of a no-deal Brexit is very real", he added.

May's deal had twice been rejected by huge margins this year and, although she was able to win over many Conservative rebels, a hard core of euroskeptics, who see "no-deal" as the best option, and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, which props up her minority government, refused to back it. The options that have so far gathered most support involve closer ties to the European Union, and a second referendum.

But he acknowledged that his party "does not have the votes to get its manifesto position through the House of Commons at the moment".

With no majority yet in the House of Commons for any of the Brexit options, there was speculation that an election could be called, though such a vote would be unpredictable and it is unclear who would lead the Conservatives into it.

Earlier this week, May committed to resigning as Tory Party leader (and therefore as prime minister) and triggering a leadership contest if MPs in her deeply divided party agreed to pass the deal.

After one of the most tumultuous weeks in British politics since the 2016 referendum, it was still uncertain how, when or even if the United Kingdom will ever leave the bloc it first joined 46 years ago.

The main "Leave Means Leave" protest outside Parliament was attended by senior Brexiteers including former U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, who called Friday a "day of betrayal".


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