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Brexit delay: MPs offered binding vote to avoid no-deal EU exit



LONDON — Theresa May has offered MPs a vote to delay Brexit and avoid leaving the EU without a deal, in a dramatic change of policy designed to prevent a new wave of Cabinet resignations.

May told MPs she would allow them the opportunity to back a “short, limited delay” to Brexit, if they again reject her deal.

The House of Commons is due to vote again on May’s Brexit deal on March 12, after it was heavily defeated by MPs earlier this year.

May told the Commons on Tuesday that in the event MPs reject her deal for a second time, they will immediately be given a series of binding votes on whether to leave the EU without a deal, or delay Brexit.

The prime minister has previously insisted that Britain will leave the EU on March 29, even if Parliament fails to ratify the deal she has negotiated with the EU.

However, May gave into demands for a vote to head-off potential mass resignations from her Cabinet, with up to 15 ministers threatening to stand down this week.

The concession came after the UK government delayed the so-called meaningful vote on her Brexit deal this week.

The delay led to a series of ministers threatening to quit the cabinet in order to back an upcoming backbench Brexit amendment which aims to delay Brexit.

Any delay would have to be agreed unanimously by the other 27 EU countries.

However, European Council President Donald Tusk this week welcomed the prospect of a delay, describing it as a “rational solution” to preventing a “chaotic Brexit.”

He added that other EU members would “show maximum understanding and goodwill” to the proposal.

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