brexit-brief-may-faces-pressure-to-resign-as-deal-hopes-fade

Brexit Brief: May faces pressure to resign as deal hopes fade

The chance of U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May getting her Brexit deal through parliament continues to narrow ahead of another week of crucial votes, after high-stake talks with Eurosceptic ministers ended without an agreement on how to proceed.

On Sunday, May met with Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and a number of other Brexiters in an attempt to win support ahead of a votes in parliament this week. However, Tory rebels present reportedly said that May repeated “all the same lines” about her preferred withdrawal agreement and offered no new resolutions during the three-hour meeting.

May’s own position as leader came into question when cabinet ministers started to discuss the possibility of caretaker prime minister who could eventually take over May’s post.

Pressure on that front continues to mount with the front page of Monday’s Sun calling for May to resign, urging her to “stand down as soon as her Brexit deal is approved and Britain is out of the EU”.

Ahead of a cabinet meeting on Monday morning, May gave no update on the threat to her leadership and was only able to tell supporters that she had discussed “whether there is sufficient support” to hold a meaningful vote this week, the Guardian reported.

Last week, EU leaders offered two delay options to May to get her Brexit deal through parliament. She has until April 12 to find a new way forward for Brexit if her withdrawal agreement is rejected again this week. Alternatively, if her deal is approved, the EU will give the government until May 22 to agree Brexit legislation.

A third meaningful vote on May’s preferred Brexit agreement was set to take place this week — more than 1,000 days after the referendum took place — however this is looking increasingly unlikely.

MPs are due to vote on Monday evening on whether to take control of a key parliamentary vote and hold a series of indicative votes that would allow them to rank different Brexit options, including staying in the customs union and a second referendum.

This could leave the prime minister at risk of losing control of the Brexit process. However there was speculation on Sunday night that May could offer an indicative votes plan herself on Monday morning.

Kwasi Kwarteng, a Brexit minister, said it would be “surprising” if Conservative MPs were told to follow a party line on the votes, the Financial Times reported.

Want news about Europe delivered to your inbox? Subscribe to MarketWatch's free Europe Daily newsletter. Sign up here.