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Iran Press TV

UK PM refuses MPs demand to rule out no-deal Brexit

Iran Press TV

Mon Jan 21, 2019 06:45PM

British Prime Minister Theresa May has refused a request from members of parliament to rule out a possibility that the country could leave the European Union at the end of March in a disorderly manner and without an agreement that could set out terms of a Brexit and future relations.

In a statement to the the House of Commons on Monday, May also rejected a demand by some lawmakers that there should be another popular vote to determine the fate of Brexit, saying such a vote that could abolish the results of the June 23, 2016 referendum, would undermine faith in the British democracy and damage social cohesion while it could also strengthen the hand of those seeking to break up the United Kingdom.

She also reminded the lawmakers that another referendum on Brexit would need an extension to UK's 2016 decision to trigger Article 50 of EU's Lisbon Treaty, a move she said would be highly difficult to go on with given EU's potential opposition.

"No-deal will only be taken off the table by either revoking Article 50, which turns back the results of the referendum - the government will not do that - or by having a deal, and that is what we are trying to work out," May told the parliament as she struggled to break the deadlock over Brexit by offering a plan for her next steps on the issue in the coming weeks.

The Conservative ruler said her most significant effort to save the Brexit deal in the weeks remaining until the departure date on March 29 would be to seek further concessions from the EU on a controversial clause in the Brexit agreement which aims to prevent checks on the Irish border.

The clause, known as the backstop, has been a main bone of contention between May and opponents of the Brexit deal. Both pro and anti-Brexit critics of the deal believe the clause, once implemented two years after Brexit in the absence of a UK-EU trade deal, would entrap the UK in EU's customs union indefinitely without London having a say in the union's rules.

"My focus continues to be on what is needed to secure the support of this House in favor of a Brexit deal with the EU," May told the Commons while she also vowed to be "more flexible" with lawmakers in trying to agree changes to the backstop.

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