Britain PM Theresa May pulls crucial vote on Brexit deal

Britain PM Theresa May pulls crucial vote on Brexit deal

Britain PM Theresa May pulls crucial vote on Brexit deal

An updated House of Commons schedule said there would also be a statement on "business of the House" after May's address, indicating a sudden change to the parliamentary timetable.

The pound took the biggest hit in June 2016, when the country voted to leave the EU.

Pressed on when the vote would be held, May simply said under existing legislation it had to be held by January 21, 2019.

The pound fell 1.6 percent against the dollar to as low as US$1.2507, the majority of the losses coming after May confirmed she was delaying the vote.

"The vote is going ahead" as planned, a spokesman for the prime minister said, adding that any other suggestions were "speculation".

May said she would do all she could to secure further assurances from the European Union on the so-called backstop arrangement, a crucial part of the deal bitterly opposed by many of her fellow conservatives and opposition parties.

Protestors walked to a location near the prime minister's residence, carrying placards saying "Brexit means a total departure from the EU", and shouting, "Bring Britain out of the EU". European Union sources said Downing Street was seeking extra safeguards that the "backstop" solution in the withdrawal agreement would never be triggered. She will later meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. "There is no room whatsoever for renegotiation", European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said in an address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

But they added that such tinkering can not alter the basis of the withdrawal agreement itself.

European Union leaders have repeatedly warned they have no appetite to reopen a divorce deal forged through lengthy tortuous talks. "This is the deal and the only deal possible".

But, speaking in Dublin, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said the current deal "is the only agreement on the table". That is very clear. "We are prepared for all scenarios".

Later adding: "Third source tells us vote "definitely off".

"The government has gone away and hidden in the toilets", he said.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament's Brexit coordinator, tweeted: "I can't follow anymore".

If May's government lost a confidence vote, it would have two weeks to overturn the result with a new vote by lawmakers. "It's time to make up their mind".

"We can not continue like this", said leading Conservative rebel Jacob Rees-Mogg, who led a failed attempt to unseat May last month.

United Kingdom labour leader Jeremy Courby said if May did not take on board changes required for Brexit that she must make way for those who can.

Having made it this far and taken brickbats from all sides for months, and repeated assertions that she will not quit, it seems unlikely. "This isn't the mark of a stable government or a strong plan".

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May shelters from the rain under an umbrella as she arrives for a church service near to her Maidenhead constituency, west of London on December 9, 2018. The PM's office had insisted that the vote would go ahead as recently as Monday morning.

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