British Prime Minister Theresa May said Tuesday she would allow lawmakers to vote on whether to leave the European Union without a deal or pursue a delay in Britain’s withdrawal from the 28-nation bloc.
Parliament is scheduled to vote on May’s deal on March 14, two weeks before Britain’s scheduled March 29 departure from the EU. The government, however, has been unable to win Parliament’s support for its separation agreement with the bloc. As a result, the U.K. is confronted with the prospect of leaving the EU without a deal, a development that could disrupt business and individuals throughout Europe.
If the vote is defeated in Parliament, as it was overwhelmingly last month, the body would likely vote on whether to ask the EU to delay Britain’s departure.
If Parliament reject’s those two options, May said the government would put forward a motion on whether lawmakers want a short extension of Article 50, the legal separation process. May added that any delay could only be until the end of June.
“I do not want to see Article 50 extended,” May told Parliament. “Our absolute focus should be on working to get a deal and leaving on March 29.
May said she presented the new options in response to lawmakers who were “genuinely worried about time running out.”
Six government ministers threatened recently to resign unless May rules out the possibility of Britain departing the EU without an agreement.