Theresa May Plans to Put Brexit Law to U.K. Parliament in Early June
© Reuters. Theresa May Plans to Put Brexit Law to U.K. Parliament in Early June
(Bloomberg) — Theresa May is preparing to put her Brexit deal back to Parliament as she seeks to revive stalled talks with opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on a joint plan for the divorce.
The prime minister and Corbyn were due to meet Tuesday evening in the House of Commons. It will be the fourth time they’ve met as part of this process. The prime minister is under pressure from her party to call off the talks. Several former ministers wrote her a public letter Monday urging her to end them.
But May is running out of ways to get her deal through Parliament. Her most senior ministers discussed the stalled negotiations with Labour during a three-hour meeting in her London offices Tuesday, and decided they should continue.
They also agreed that the so-called Withdrawal Agreement Bill — which puts the terms of the exit accord into law — must be passed by Parliament before politicians break up for a long summer recess, expected in late July.
According to two people familiar with the discussions, the prime minister is aiming to put her deal to the House of Commons in the first week of June, when politicians return from an 11-day break. That will give members of Parliament the chance to debate and vote on the terms of the divorce. It’s unlikely it could also pass the House of Lords in that time.
If the bill is defeated, May can’t bring it back again without ending this parliamentary session and starting a new one, which would require a review of the confidence-and-supply agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party, who oppose May’s Brexit plan. It would also raise the prospect of defeat on votes on the government’s legislative program.
The Commons has already rejected the deal May negotiated with the EU three times and she’s now seeking changes to win the support of the main opposition Labour Party.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, speaking earlier, articulated how difficult the Brexit process was, saying that that he wasn’t confident of the outcome of the cross-party talks, but also that he didn’t want another referendum or a general election.
(Updates with Corbyn meeting in first paragraph.)