British Labour leader Corbyn curves toward new EU referendum option

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Kylie MacLellan

LONDON (Reuters) – British opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn moved a step closer to paving the way for another referendum on European Union membership by trying to use parliament to grab control of Brexit from Prime Minister Theresa May.

With the clock ticking down to March 29, the date set in law for Brexit, the United Kingdom is in the deepest political crisis in half a century as it grapples with how, or even whether, to exit the European project it joined in 1973.

After May’s Brexit divorce deal was rejected by 432-202 lawmakers last week, the biggest defeat in modern British history, some lawmakers are trying to take control of Brexit from May’s weakened minority government.

May on Monday proposed tweaking her deal, a bid to win over rebel Conservative lawmakers and the Northern Irish party which props up her government, but Labour said May was in denial about the crushing defeat of her plans.

Labour put forward an amendment seeking to force the government to give parliament time to consider and vote on options to prevent a ‘no deal’ exit – a course May has repeatedly refused to rule out.

Among the options, Labour said, should be a permanent customs union with the EU and “a public vote on a deal” – both proposals that May has ruled out.

As the British parliament, which traces its roots through a 1,000 years of history, tries to avoid what most lawmakers think would be a disorderly Brexit without an approved deal, there is still no clear majority for an alternative option.

Lawmakers will debate and vote on the next steps on Jan. 29.

Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

 

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