UK’s May says she’ll still have job after Brexit vote
London – British Prime Minister Theresa May brushed aside questions Monday about whether she will resign if her Brexit deal is rejected by Parliament next week, saying she’s confident she’ll still have a job after the crucial vote.
May is battling to persuade lawmakers to support the divorce agreement between Britain and the European Union in a Dec. 11 House of Commons vote. Opposition parties say they will vote against it, as do dozens of lawmakers from May’s Conservatives.
Defeat would leave the U.K. facing a messy, economically damaging “no-deal” Brexit on March 29 and could topple the Conservative prime minister, her government, or both.
May said Monday that “I will still have a job in two weeks’ time.”
“My job is making sure that we do what the public asked us to: We leave the EU but we do it in a way that is good for them,” she told broadcaster ITV.
May has consistently refused to say what she plans to do if – as widely predicted – the British Parliament rejects the deal she reached with the EU.
“I’m focusing on … getting that vote and getting the vote over the line,” she said.
Politicians on both sides of Britain’s EU membership debate oppose the agreement that May has struck with the bloc – Brexiteers because it keeps Britain bound closely to the EU, and pro-EU politicians because it erects barriers between the U.K. and its biggest trading partner.
May’s opponents on both sides argue that Britain can renegotiate the deal for better terms.
But the British government and the EU insist that the agreement, which took a year and a half to negotiate, is the only one on the table, and rejecting it means leaving the bloc without a deal.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Monday that “there is no Plan B.”
Rutte cited “red lines” drawn by both sides during the negotiations, including the U.K.’s refusal to accept the free movement of people between Britain and the EU, and the need to keep an open border between the U.K.’s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.
“When you take all these red lines into account, it’s simply impossible to come up with something different than we have currently, the deal on the table,” he told The Associated Press on the sidelines of the global climate conference in Katowice, Poland.
Rutte said the choice was “this, or a hard Brexit, or no Brexit at all.”
Frank Jordans in Katowice, Poland contributed to this story.
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