British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to condemn growing calls for a second referendum on Britain’s departure from the European Union, saying it would do irreparable damage to trust in democracy.
May’s office said she will tell lawmakers in the House of Commons on Monday that staging another referendum “would say to millions who trusted in democracy that our democracy does not deliver.”
She’s also expected to argue that such a ballot would exacerbate the country’s divisions rather than heal them.
But a growing number of politicians believe a new referendum may be the only way to break Britain’s impasse over Brexit.
May’s government and the EU sealed a divorce deal last month, but May postponed a parliamentary vote intended to ratify the agreement last week when it became clear legislators would overwhelmingly reject it.
She tried to win changes from the EU to sweeten the deal for reluctant lawmakers, but was rebuffed by the bloc at a summit in Brussels.
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And May’s authority has been shaken after a no-confidence vote from her own party on Wednesday that saw more than a third of Conservative lawmakers vote against her.
With Britain’s departure from the bloc looming on March 29, it remains unclear whether the country will leave with a deal or crash out with no deal.
Some members of May’s Cabinet are urging the government to ramp up planning for a “no-deal” Brexit – a chaotic outcome that could see gridlock at U.K. ports, planes grounded and shortages of essential goods.
Others are seeking to work with opposition politicians to find a way out of the morass.
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May’s supporters distanced themselves from media reports that senior figures in her government held talks with opposition Labour lawmakers aimed at holding another vote.
But some Cabinet members say lawmakers from all parties should be consulted to find out whether there is majority support for any course of action.
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“We can’t just have continuing uncertainty and I think Parliament should be invited to say what it would agree with,” Business Secretary Greg Clark told the BBC.
He said that “I think businesses up and down the country would expect elected members to take responsibility, rather than just be critics.”
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