Theresa May Makes Major Concession

PM offers vote on new Brexit referendum
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 21, 2019 12:45 PM CDT
Theresa May Makes Major Concession
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech in London, Tuesday, May 21, 2019. The British government is discussing how to tweak its proposed European Union divorce terms in a last-ditch attempt to get Parliament's backing for Prime Minister Theresa May's deal with the bloc.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, pool)

In a major concession, British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday offered UK lawmakers the chance to vote on whether to hold a new referendum on the country's membership in the EU—but only if they back her thrice-rejected Brexit agreement, reports the AP. May made the offer as part of a desperate attempt to persuade Parliament to back a divorce deal that will allow the UK to make an orderly, if delayed, departure from the EU. She plans to ask the House of Commons to vote in early June on a withdrawal agreement bill, in what May called a "last chance" to seal a Brexit deal. In a speech Tuesday, May said the bill would include "a requirement to vote on whether to hold a second referendum" that would give Britons a chance to approve or reject the terms of Brexit.

A referendum is a key demand of opposition lawmakers who have until now rejected May's deal. "I do not believe that this is a route we should take," said May, who has long opposed a new public vote on Brexit. "But I recognize the genuine and sincere strength of feeling across the House on this important issue." The Brexit referendum, however, will only happen if Parliament backs the EU withdrawal bill and it becomes law, something that still seems unlikely, despite May's last-minute changes. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said May's new bill was merely "a repackaging of the same old bad deal, rejected three times by Parliament." The AP has more fiery reactions here.

(More Brexit stories.)

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