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British PM Faces Another Coup Attempt

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British PM Theresa May must have thought her situation couldn’t possibly get any worse.

But instead of finding a lifeline with her dramatic new Brexit pitch, she may face another coup attempt — possibly as early as today — after furious MPs from her Conservative Party rejected the revised deal.

The changes, announced last night, were in themselves a last-ditch attempt to get the Brexit-enabling legislation through the bitterly divided House of Commons.

Mrs May has already promised she would leave “the job I love” if the deal was approved and the UK left the European Union.
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May delivers her speech in central London where she admitted the Brexit debate had been ‘corrosive’.

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May delivers her speech in central London where she admitted the Brexit debate had been ‘corrosive’.Source:AFP

British voters narrowly supported leaving in a 2016 referendum, but the form Brexit took was never certain, and it has been plagued by delays and indecision culminating in the deal the prime minister struck with the EU being rejected three times by parliament and the leave date of March 29 extended until October.

The revised deal offered a vote on a second referendum and closer trading arrangements with the EU — that fell short of a formal customs union — but failed to win over Labour MPs and backbenchers in Mrs May’s own party.

British media are reporting that politicians from across the spectrum warned the deal was doomed.

The prime minister appealed to MPs to get behind her Withdrawal Agreement Bill, but instead faced a wave of criticism.

“We are being asked to vote for a customs union and a second referendum,” Boris Johnson, the bookies favourite to be Britain’s next prime minister, said. “The Bill is directly against our manifesto — and I will not vote for it. We can and must do better — and deliver what the people voted for.”

The deadlock in London means it is unclear how, when or even if Britain will leave the EU. The current deadline to leave is October 31.

The world’s fifth-largest economy faces an array of options, including an exit with a deal to smooth the transition, a “no-deal” exit, an election or a second referendum.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party could not vote for the Withdrawal Bill, describing Mrs May’s new offer as “largely a rehash of the government’s position” in talks with the opposition that broke down last week

“It’s far too weak. It doesn’t really offer anything new or anything bold,” Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said. “It’s already pretty clear that it’s heading for a pretty big loss and I think frankly the prime minister would do well to just admit defeat and I think she should announce today that she’s not going to put the vote because it’s clearly heading in the wrong direction.”

Mrs May wrote to Mr Corbyn, asking him to compromise so that Brexit could take place. “I have shown today that I am willing to compromise to deliver Brexit for the British people,” she said.

Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which props up Mrs May’s minority government, said the “fatal flaws” of her original deal remained. They fear the divorce deal could see Northern Ireland split from the rest of the UK.

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