LONDON (AP) – British Prime Minister Theresa May has told lawmakers she may not seek passage of her troubled Brexit withdrawal plan in Parliament next week.
The embattled leader, who faces a major protest march in central London on Saturday, wrote to lawmakers Friday night saying she would bring the European Union withdrawal back to Parliament if there seems to be enough backing for it to pass.
“If it appears that there is not sufficient support to bring the deal back next week, or the House rejects it again, we can ask for another extension before 12 April, but that will involve holding European Parliament elections,” she said.
May’s changing stance reflects the plan’s dismal chances in the House of Commons after two prior defeats.
She also says she would need the approval of House Speaker John Bercow to bring the plan back for a third time despite his objections. Bercow has said a third vote would violate parliamentary rules unless the plan is altered.
WATCH | Here are all the times Theresa May told us we'd be leaving the EU on 29th March 2019. Today she has given our Remain Parliament the chance to block No Deal and extend Article 50.
She has lied to the country for two years. Her betrayal will not be forgotten or forgiven! pic.twitter.com/b2detXDk1X
— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) February 26, 2019
May said in her letter to lawmakers that if the deal is approved, Britain will leave the EU on May 22, a date agreed with EU officials.
Lawmakers have twice rejected the deal and haven’t shown any clear swing toward endorsing it in recent days. Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union on April 12 if no deal is approved.
Pro-Brexit forces are also girding for the possible political impact of a planned march in central London in support of holding a second referendum that would give British voters the option of remaining in the EU despite the 2016 vote in favour of leaving.
The organizers of the “People’s Vote March” predict that one of Britain’s largest-ever protest marches will grip central London. More than 4 million people endorsed an electronic petition this week in favour of revoking Article 50, the act that formally triggered the Brexit process.
The march will conclude outside Parliament, which remains divided over Brexit. No consensus on a way forward has emerged despite weeks of extensive debate.
Tory Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg blames #Brexit impasse on a "historic disconnection" between voters and MPs – "52% of voters voted to leave, but probably 500 out of 650 MPs voted to remain"#BrexitVote latest: https://t.co/Zz9ah23BQ5 pic.twitter.com/NnANu3L0N5
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) March 12, 2019
May told lawmakers in her letter that Britain still has options including an extension that would require taking part in European Parliament elections in May.
She also said Britain could revoke Article 50 but characterized that as a betrayal of the Brexit vote in favour of severing EU ties.
She also said Britain could leave without a deal.
In a conciliatory tone, the Prime Minister offered to meet with lawmakers to discuss Brexit policy.
She had offended many legislators with a speech Thursday night that seemed to blame Parliament for the stalled Brexit process.