- Members of Parliament attempt to force Theresa May to delay Brexit again.
- A new bill brought forward by Labour MP Yvette Cooper would require the prime minister to seek an extension beyond the current Brexit date of April 12.
- The new bill comes after the House of Commons failed to vote for any of the alternatives to May’s deal.
- However, its backers also plan to force another round of indicative votes.
- May’s Cabinet will meet for five hours on Tuesday to seek a way through the crisis.
LONDON – Theresa May could this week be forced to seek another delay to Brexit under a new piece of legislation brought forward by Members of Parliament.
The legislation, called the European Union (Withdrawal) (No.5) Bill, could be approved in the House of Commons on Wednesday or Thursday if plans by MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit are successful.
Under the bill, drafted by Labour MP Yvette Cooper and Conservative MP Oliver Letwin, the prime minister would be forced to seek an indeterminate extension to the Article 50 process which is currently due to take Britain out of the EU on April 12.
Any delay beyond that would require the UK to take part in the upcoming European Parliament elections in May.
The length of any extension would be for the prime minister to decide in negotiations with the EU.
The plan, drawn up by a cross-party group of MPs, also paves the way for a fresh round of indicative votes to take place on Monday, April 8, as efforts continue to try find a Brexit deal that has a House of Commons majority.
On Monday evening, MPs failed to agree on any alternative to leaving the EU under May’s deal, rejecting plans either for a softer Brexit, a second referendum, or to revoke Article 50.
Tory and Labour backbenchers involved in drawing up the various options have prepared a fresh set of alternatives to May’s deal ahead of possible indicative votes next week. Backers of a new referendum on Tuesday held discussions with supporters of a soft Brexit in an attempt to strike a compromise which both groups could support.
Cooper said the bill was necessary to prevent the “serious and growing risk of no deal in 10 days’ time.”
“If the government won’t act urgently, then parliament has a responsibility to try to ensure that happens even though we are right up against the deadline,” she said.
Senior EU figures warned on Tuesday that a no-deal Brexit was now a “likely” outcome.
“No deal was never our desired or intended scenario,” the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier told an audience in Brussels.
“But the EU27 is now prepared. It becomes, day after day, more likely.”
May’s Cabinet met for over seven hours on Tuesday in the latest attempt to find a way through the growing Brexit crisis.
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