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Theresa May Postpones Brexit Vote to Avoid Defeat

British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at a news conference after an EU leaders summit to finalize and formalize the Brexit agreement in Brussels, Belgium, November 25, 2018. (Piroschka van de Wouw/Reuters)

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May delayed Monday the perviously scheduled final vote on her Brexit agreement after being informed that she lacked the requisite support.

The vote in the House of Commons to approve the conditions of Britain’s departure from the European Union was scheduled to take place Tuesday afternoon but will now be delayed for undetermined period as May works to secure the support of additional Tory MPs, many of whom are convinced the deal she’s advanced betrays the desire of voters for a clean break from the European Union.

May’s government has maintained that the deal they’ve constructed over the last 18 months and finalized in late November would not be reopened but that appeared to change Monday as a Downing Street official told the BBC that negotiations over the so-called Northern Ireland backstop are ongoing.

“Nothing is off the table,” the official said, referring to negotiations over a temporary provision in the withdrawal agreement that requires the U.K. to remain in compliance with E.U. customs rules, thereby ensuring that the Northern Irish border will remain open and without physical barriers. While the arrangement is technically temporary, many Tory MPs fear the U.K. will not be able to dissolve the relationship at a later date because they would require the support of the E.U. to do so.

A contingent of British lawmakers are in favor of holding another referendum to determine if the British people would swill like to move forward with Brexit now that many previously obscured consequences have become clear. The European Court of Justice ruled that the U.K. can renege on Brexit and choose to remain a member of the E.U. without the permission of its fellow member states, providing a boost to those who would like to maintain the status quo until another referendum can be held.

“This is confirmation that it is still up to us to decide whether we want to keep the existing deal we’ve got in the EU rather than accept a bad deal negotiated by the government,” said foreign secretary Dame Margarett Beckett, who is pushing for another referendum.

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