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PM Theresa May’s offer of new ‘bold’ Brexit deal prompts scepticism

It would be May’s fourth attempt to seek its passage through parliament, after the agreement was voted down thrice in the House of Commons. Unless it was fundamentally changed, the opposition Labour said it is likely to be rejected again.

world Updated: May 19, 2019 18:19 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Prime Minister Theresa May,EU,Labour
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May wants MPs to consider the deal “with fresh pairs of eyes - and to give it their support”. (REUTERS PHOTO)

The EU withdrawal agreement to be re-introduced in parliament in the week beginning June 3 will include a ‘bold offer’, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Sunday, but the announcement soon evoked scepticism, making it unlikely that it would be passed.

It would be May’s fourth attempt to seek its passage through parliament, after the agreement was voted down thrice in the House of Commons. Unless it was fundamentally changed, the opposition Labour said it is likely to be rejected again.

May wrote in The Sunday Times that a ‘new and improved’ Brexit deal will be put to MPs, adding that she will “not be simply asking MPs to think again” on the same deal that they have rejected - but on “an improved packaged of measures that I believe can win new support”.

May wants MPs to consider the deal “with fresh pairs of eyes - and to give it their support”. Part of the offer will be around improved workers’ rights (part of Labour’s demand), international development secretary Rory Stewart told the BBC.

However, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who announced end to the cross-party talks on Brexit last week, said he would look at the proposals “very carefully” but “can’t give it a blank cheque”, since what was being talked about was “not fundamentally different” from what No 10 had already promised. As it stood, Labour would oppose it.

Various parties have been setting up their stalls on the issue of the UK’s membership of the European Union ahead of the May 23 elections to the European parliament. The Liberal Democrats hope to gain considerably due its demand for a new referendum and an openly anti-Brexit position.

But the new Brexit party led by Nigel Farage is increasingly gaining traction at the cost of the Conservative and Labour parties, polls suggest. Another new party, Change UK, comprising ex-Labour and Conservative MPs, believes the only option is to stop Brexit by revoking Article 50.

Change UK spokesman Chuka Umunna said there was “simply not enough time” to hold a referendum before October 31, the new date of the UK’s exit from the EU. According to him, “We are facing a national emergency,” he told BBC.

First Published: May 19, 2019 18:19 IST