The British cabinet signs off on a draft Brexit deal, even as its prospects of passing the House of Commons are anything but certain.
UNITED NATIONS – Britain’s ruling cabinet agreed Wednesday to advance a draft Brexit bill to a parliamentary vote, setting up Prime Minister Theresa May for a major political test as lawmakers consider whether her imperfect deal is better than none at all.
After a five-hour cabinet meeting Wednesday evening, that’s the choice May put to the nation:
“When you strip away the detail, the choice before us is clear. This deal which delivers on the vote of the referendum, which brings back control of our money, laws and borders, ends free movement, protects jobs, security and our union, or leave with no deal or no Brexit at all.”
It’s not clear what lawmakers will decide.
After British voters opted for Brexit in 2016, E.U. lawmakers have made it clear that leaving the E.U. isn’t easy, and they’ve ruled out any talk of Britain’s post-Brexit future until the so-called “divorce” from Europe was locked in.
That’s made it difficult for many Brexit backers to demonstrate any signs of progress to their constituents.
All the while, those who never wanted to leave the E.U. in the first place have dragged their feet, with many hoping a second referendum to undo Brexit could reemerge as an attractive option.
Addressing the House of Commons on Wednesday afternoon, May had harsh words for opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whom she accused of being one of those obstructionists.
“Time and time again he has stood up in this house and complained and said that the government isn’t making progress, the government isn’t anywhere close to a deal. Now when we’re making progress and close to a deal, now he’s complaining about that.”
And yet Corbyn’s side may carry the day.
Many Brexit cheerleaders think the latest deal is too weak and want the prime minister to return to the negotiating table. And if Brexit opponents join with them in voting down the current deal, it, along with Theresa May, could become the latest victims of Britain’s messy Brexit saga.