UK’s May implores EU to help her win backing for Brexit deal
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LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May was battling Friday to stave off another defeat for her Brexit divorce deal, imploring the European Union to make concessions to help her win approval from Parliament.
In a speech just three weeks before Britain is due to leave the EU, May planned to tell the bloc that “it is in the European interest for the U.K. to leave with a deal.”
May’s office said she will urge the EU to make changes to its withdrawal agreement with Britain, warning that “decisions that the European Union makes over the next few days will have a big impact on the outcome of the vote.”
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said May’s speech sounded like “a sign of desperation.”
British lawmakers are due to vote for a second time Tuesday on the deal, which they overwhelmingly rejected in January.
May has been trying to secure changes that can persuade reluctant legislators to back the deal, but the EU is unwilling to reopen the 585-page agreement.
Last-minute negotiations have stalled, with EU leaders saying Britain has not provided concrete proposals.
If Britain’s Parliament throws out the deal again, lawmakers will vote on whether to leave the EU without an agreement — an idea likely to be rejected — or to ask the EU to delay Brexit beyond the scheduled March 29 departure date.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt underscored May’s appeal to the EU, urging the bloc to be “flexible” because “history will judge both sides very badly if we get this wrong.”
“We want to remain the best of friends with the EU. That means getting this agreement through in a way that doesn’t inject poison into our relations for many years to come,” Hunt said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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