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London denies plotting last-minute Brexit vote

AFP  |  London 

The denied Wednesday it was secretly plotting to force MPs into a last-minute choice on between a rejigged deal or a lengthy delay.

television reported that it had overheard Theresa May's chief negotiator in a bar saying the would probably let Britain extend its March 29 departure date.

Such a move would effectively mean removing the possibility of Britain leaving the EU without a deal.

reported that it eavesdropped on Robbins, one of the key figures in the negotiations, talking to colleagues in a hotel bar on Monday.

He was said to have indicated that if lawmakers - who overwhelmingly rejected the deal struck between and - did not vote for a rehashed withdrawal agreement, then the delay to Brexit would be "a long one".

"The issue is whether is clear on the terms of extension. In the end, they will probably just give us an extension," he was quoted as saying.

"Got to make them believe that the week beginning end of March... Extension is possible but if they don't vote for the deal then the extension is a long one." The government insists it is working towards leaving the EU on time, with a deal in place.

A said: "We would not comment on alleged remarks from a private conversation which is said to have been overheard in a hotel bar." denied the reported Robbins comments reflected official government policy.

"We are committed to leaving on March 29," he told radio.

"It is not in anyone's interest to have an extension without any clarity." May on Tuesday asked MPs for more time to try and revive the Brexit deal in what the opposition said was a ploy to "run down the clock".

She said the talks were at a crucial stage and MPs needed to hold their nerve to get changes to the withdrawal agreement -- notably the on keeping the border with free-flowing.

Keir Starmer, the main opposition Labour Party's Brexit spokesman, said Wednesday that May was stringing parliament along "pretending there's progress".

Labour has tabled an amendment for debate in parliament on Thursday which would force the government to either put a deal to a vote by February 27 or allow parliament to take control of the Brexit process.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, February 13 2019. 18:30 IST