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Push for May's Brexit deal after quit pledge (3rd Lead)


IANS London
Efforts to persuade UK MPs to back Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal will continue on Thursday, a day after she promised to resign from her post if it was approved.
But challenges remained for the Prime Minister after Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), who she relies on for support, said it would not back the deal because of the Irish backstop -- the insurance policy designed to avoid a hard border between the Irish Republic and the UK province of Northern Ireland, the BBC reported.
Without the DUP's support, May will find it hard to pass her deal. Under an agreement struck with the European Union (EU) to extend the Brexit process, it must be ratified by Friday.
Meanwhile, none of eight alternative Brexit proposals brought by the MPs secured backing in a series of House of Commons votes on Wednesday night.
The only plan that came close to succeeding was a proposal that Britain would remain within a permanent customs union with the EU after Brexit. It was rejected by eight votes -- 272 votes to 264.
A plan to hold a confirmatory referendum on any agreed Brexit deal lost by 27 votes -- 268 for and 295 against.
The options - which included a customs union with the EU and a referendum on any Brexit deal - were supposed to help find a consensus over how it would be best for the UK to leave the bloc.
May's announcement to resign came at a meeting earlier on Wednesday of the 1922 Committee, the influential group of all backbench Conservative Members of Parliament, CNN reported.
Her decision would enable lawmakers to complete their "historic duty" and "deliver on the decision of the British people and leave the European Union with a smooth and orderly exit". she said.
"I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to do what is right for our country and our party," May told them. "I know there is a desire for a new approach -- and new leadership -- in the second phase of the Brexit negotiations -- and I won't stand in the way of that."
In the immediate aftermath of her announcement, key lawmakers fell into line. Boris Johnson, the former Foreign Secretary, who quit over her handling of Brexit, said he would reluctantly support May's deal.
Others, including former party leader Iain Duncan-Smith, followed his lead.
Downing Street plans to put May's Withdrawal Agreement back before Parliament before the end of the week.
MPs will now vote on May's deal for a third time on Friday, saying that a motion to enable debate for that day would be put before the House of Commons on Thursday.
EU leaders granted Britain a delay to Brexit to May 22 last week but only if May's deal wins the support of Parliament.
If it is not supported this week, the Prime Minister will have return to Brussels before April 12 to set out what she plans to do next.

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First Published: Mar 28 2019 | 3:36 PM IST

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