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UK MPs threaten to reject May snap election efforts

IANS | March 31, 2019 03:42 PM

LONDON: Conservative MPs from across the ruling party have threatened to reject any effort by British Prime Minister Theresa May to lead them into a snap election, warning it would aggrevate the Brexit crisis, the media reported.

In a sign of the collapse in authority suffered by May, cabinet ministers are among those warning that there will be a serious campaign by Conservative MPs to vote against an election headed by the embattled Prime Minister, a move she hinted at last week to break the Brexit impasse, the Guardian reported on Saturday.

The threat of an election immediately angered both pro-Brexit and pro-Remain MPs.

May would need a two-thirds majority in the House of Commons to secure one, meaning a serious rebellion by the Conservatives could block it.

She would then be forced to secure an election by backing a no-confidence vote in her own government, which only requires a simple majority of MPs.

Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan said: "If we have a general election before Brexit is resolved, it will only make things worse."

Antoinette Sandbach, a Conservative MP who backs another referendum being held on any deal agreed by Prliament, said "the answer is not a general election, and I would vote against that".

Mark Francois, a member of the European Research Group of pro-Brexit MPs, said there was "not a chance" that Conservative MPs would back an election under May.

Meanwhile, May is looking for ways to bring her European Union (EU) withdrawal agreement back to the House of Commons for a fourth attempt.

After MPs on Friday rejected May's agreement for the third time by 344 votes to 286, the Prime Minister said that the UK would need "an alternative way forward" to carry on with the Brexit process.

The agreement is the part of Brexit deal May struck with Brussels that sets out how much money the UK must pay to the EU as a settlement, details of the transition period and arrangements for the Irish backstop -- the insurance policy designed to avoid a hard border between the Irish Republic and the UK province of Northern Ireland.

MPs from all parties will now test support for other options during a second round of "indicative votes" on April 1.

May has until April 12 to seek a longer extension to the negotiation process to avoid the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal.

However, she said any further delay to Brexit was "almost certain" to involve staging elections to the European Parliament slated to be held from May 23 to 26.


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