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UK Prime Minister Theresa May to try again to pass Brexit bill in June

However, there are already doubts about the cross-party talks ever reaching a consensus position, given the opposing views on both sides on the approach to Brexit, particularly on the UK remaining in the EU customs union (Labour’s demand), which is opposed by the government.

world Updated: May 15, 2019 18:26 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Theresa May,Brexit,Prime Minister Theresa May
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May has set the stage for a fourth showdown with parliament over her EU withdrawal deal next month, which could also be her last act as Britain's prime minister.(AFP)

The EU withdrawal agreement has been voted down thrice in the House of Commons, but Prime Minister Theresa May announced on Tuesday night that it will be re-introduced in the week beginning June 3, prompting rebels to announce they would vote it down again.

There is little evidence of the Conservative government and the opposition Labour reaching a consensus position to pass the bill in cross-party talks. Both parties face another bruising in the May 23 elections, latest polls suggest.

A Downing Street spokesperson said on Tuesday: “This evening the Prime Minister met the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons (Jeremy Corbyn) to make clear our determination to bring the talks to a conclusion and deliver on the referendum result to leave the EU”.

“We will therefore be bringing forward the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the week beginning the 3rd June. It is imperative we do so then if the UK is to leave the EU before the summer Parliamentary recess”.

However, there are already doubts about the cross-party talks ever reaching a consensus position, given the opposing views on both sides on the approach to Brexit, particularly on the UK remaining in the EU customs union (Labour’s demand), which is opposed by the government.

Also read: Brexit rocks Labour too as talks stay deadlocked

A Labour party spokesman said Corbyn had “raised doubts over the credibility of government commitments, following statements by Conservative MPs and cabinet ministers seeking to replace the prime minister”.

Nigel Dodds, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) that is propping up the minority May government said it was “highly likely” May’s agreement would be defeated again unless she can “demonstrate something new that addresses the problem of the backstop”.

Owen Paterson, member of the influential European Research Group comprising Brexit rebel MPs within the Conservative party, said nothing new had been put forward to convince hardline Brexiters to vote for the agreement.

“Sadly we will vote against it, yes, because as the DUP said in their statement, it doesn’t change the essential nature of the withdrawal agreement, which is unacceptable,” he told BBC on Wednesday.

First Published: May 15, 2019 18:25 IST