British Prime Minister Theresa May says she has “compromised” ahead of a last-ditch effort to get her Brexit deal approved by parliament.
On Tuesday, May attempted to win over opposition by offering the House of Commons a vote on whether to hold a confirmatory referendum on her Withdrawal Agreement – if it is pushed through parliament.
The holding of any fresh referendum for the British public would take a good deal of parliamentary wrangling to establish exactly what question should be asked, but a confirmatory vote would essentially be a choice between May’s deal and the cancellation of Brexit altogether.
“It’s her absolutely last throw of the dice to get her deal through and secure her legacy before she steps down,” said Al Jazeera’s Laurence Lee, reporting from London.
May’s deal has faced opposition on several fronts. Hardliners in her own party believe it doesn’t go far enough, leaving Britain part of several European institutions and structures such as the Customs Union.
The DUP, on whose support May depends to command a majority in parliament, says efforts to avoid a “hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland – keeping Northern Ireland largely aligned with the EU until a new trade deal can be agreed, also known as the “backstop” position – undermines the integrity of the UK, creating a trade border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
And Labour, the principal opposition party, while politically committed to leaving the EU, also opposes the deal over issues of workers’ rights and those of EU nationals living in Britain and British nationals living within the EU.
May has said she has compromised on ten key points, but Al Jazeera’s Laurence Lee says most of the “concessions” were already known, and the only new offer was that of the confirmatory referendum.
“Will it work? Probably not,” he said. “Her half-in, half-out approach has appeased no-one at all. Her final throw of the dice will more likely be a one than a six.”
Al Jazeera and news agencies