British Prime Minister Theresa May announced on Monday that she is delaying a crucial Parliament vote planned for Tuesday on her controversial Brexit deal, amid continuing divisions over aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement struck with the European Union (EU).
Addressing the House of Commons, she admitted that the deal looks set to be rejected by a "significant margin" due to ongoing concerns over the so-called "backstop", which many fear would keep the UK within the EU Customs Union even after Brexit.
May told MPs she would be speaking to EU leaders ahead of a summit later this week about the "clear concerns" expressed by lawmakers.
"It is the right deal for Britain. I am determined to do all I can to secure the reassurances this House requires, to get this deal over the line and deliver for the British people," she said.
"Many of the most controversial aspects of this deal including the backstop are simply inescapable facts of having a negotiated Brexit. Those members who continue to disagree need to shoulder the responsibility of advocating an alternative solution that can be delivered," she said.
Asked by Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable if EU leaders had indicated they were ready to ditch the backstop, she said: "A number of European leaders I've spoken to have indicated that they are open to discussions to find a way to provide reassurance to members of this House on that point." Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn attacked the British prime minister in an open Commons clash, saying she had "lost control of events" and the government was in "complete chaos" and called on her to stand down.
"This is a bad deal for Britain and a bad deal for our democracy. Our country deserves better than this. She must make way, he said.
May's deal has been agreed with the EU, but it needs to be backed by the UK Parliament if it is to become law ahead of the UK's formal exit from the union set for March 29 next year.
Making her task tougher, European Commission spokesperson Mina Andreeva stressed the EU would not renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement.
"As (European Commossion) President Juncker said, this deal is the best and only deal possible," she said.
"We will not renegotiate our position has therefore not changed and as far as we are concerned the UK is leaving the European Union on 29 March, 2019," she said, alluding to the possibility of a feared no-deal chaotic Brexit.
Monday's House of Commons statement comes as the European Court of Justice ruled the UK could cancel Brexit without the permission of the other 27 EU members. This will raise further calls for a People's Vote, or second referendum, on Britain's membership of the economic bloc.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)