On the day that Britain was originally scheduled to leave the European Union, lawmakers will vote Friday on what Prime Minister Theresa May's government described as the "last chance to vote for Brexit." The House of Commons is voting a third time on May's twice-rejected European Union withdrawal agreement amid continuing opposition from hard-line Brexit supporters and Northern Ireland lawmakers. The agreement still faces substantial opposition even after May sacrificed her job for her deal, promising to quit if lawmakers approved the deal and let Britain leave the EU in May, the AP reports. Most analysts say there is little hope of approval unless May can secure the support of the Democratic Unionist Party, which has refused to back the agreement because it treats Northern Ireland differently than the rest of the UK.
Two years ago, Britain triggered a two-year countdown to Brexit, with the departure date set for March 29, 2019. But with British politicians deadlocked over whether to approve a divorce deal, the EU last week granted an extension. Under its terms, if the withdrawal agreement is approved by 11pm UK time, Britain will leave the 28-nation bloc on May 22. If it is rejected, Britain has until April 12 to announce a new plan, or leave the EU without a deal, risking severe disruption for people and businesses. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said Friday was "the last chance we have to vote for Brexit as we understood it." President Trump offered encouragement to May on Thursday. Speaking to reporters at the White House, he called her a friend and said he wished her well with the "Brexit movement and everything happening there." (Read more Brexit stories.)