British PM faces daunting task of getting Brexit deal through hostile parliament

2018-11-26 23:33:15Xinhua Editor : Wang Fan ECNS App Download

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday launched a two-week campaign to sell the Brexit deal, a historic agreement approved Sunday by 27 European Union (EU) leaders, to the whole country, as she is facing a daunting task in winning over a hostile House of Commons in its expected vote in December.

After getting a formal endorsement from the European Union, the prime minister is facing a far bigger test in the British parliament, where members are expected to vote on the Brexit deal in just about two weeks, with up to 90 Tories publicly threatening to rebel.

With hurdles eventually cleared in the EU, May can focus her full energies now on winning over the House of Commons.

May held an emergency cabinet meeting on Monday morning to brief British ministers on her strategy to sell the deal. Afterwards, she will go to the House of Commons to directly appeal to the members of parliament to decide what is in Britain's "national interest".

May's own political future is also in the hands of the parliament.

The prime minister has embarked on a nationwide tour to promote her Brexit plan to the electorate after her recent direct speeches to cabinet members, members of parliament and business leaders.

The Brexit deal, reached by London and Brussels after 18 months of painstaking negotiations, needs to be approved by the British parliament before taking effect to guide the United Kingdom out of the world's largest trading bloc on March 29, 2019 and building new relations with the regional organization after the divorce.

The move is seen as a high-risk strategy designed to turn the tide of opposition in the parliament.

During the persuasion tour, she is expected to warn her Conservative Party to put aside its differences and "listen" to their constitutes who are fed up with Brexit and want to "move on."

Speaking from Brussels, the prime minister warned the members of parliament back home that they would create "more division and uncertainty" if they reject the deal.

Failing to back the deal will take Britain "back to square one," she warned, asking the members of parliament to do their duty and support her Brexit plan.

"We can back this deal, deliver on the vote of the referendum and move on to building a brighter future of opportunity and prosperity for all our people," May said in her speech to the anxious members of parliament.

"Or this house can choose to reject this deal and go back to square one," she said.

A bid to topple May as Conservative leader, launched by Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leading Conservative rebel member of parliament, lost its momentum as he failed to gather the requisite support from parliament members.

In an understatement of how tough it will be for the prime minister to get her Brexit deal passed, Stephen Barclay, the British Brexit secretary, has admitted it would be "challenging."

Barclay, who only took over the current role from Dominic Raab earlier this month, said in BBC Radio 4's Today program, "Well, it's going to be a challenging vote."

"But it's now the job of all of us in cabinet to make the case to our colleagues, make the case to the country," he said.

Brushing aside the public appeals for a second referendum or the amendment to the Brexit deal, the prime minister insisted that her carefully choreographed plan is the only option on the table.

"Take it or leave it," that sounds like the prime minister's key message to the parliament. In her opinion, "take it" means an action taken in "national interest", and "leave it" signals a risk that will plunge the country into "more division and more uncertainty."

At present, the United Kingdom is facing a choice between the Brexit deal or crashing out of the European Union without a deal.



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