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May offer to quit fails to sway key opponents of her Brexit deal

British Prime Minister Theresa May offered on Wednesday to quit to get her European Union divorce deal through parliament, but the Northern Irish party crucial to getting the vote through were unmoved and said they would reject it again.
The move by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which could have convinced many rebels in May's own Conservative party to back her, made it highly unlikely that she could get her deal through at the third attempt.
Brussels had given May until Friday to get the deal through and said if she did not, it expected Britain to ask for a longer delay to its departure from the EU.
"We will not be supporting the government if they table a fresh meaningful vote," the DUP said in a statement. Deputy party leader Nigel Dodds made clear in a tweet that this meant they would be voting against.
While May's departure would not alter the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, it could give Conservative eurosceptics who have opposed it a greater say in negotiating the terms of Britain's future relationship with the EU.
"I have heard very clearly the mood of the parliamentary party," May told a meeting of Conservative lawmakers (MPs).
"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."
May's gesture is the latest dramatic turn in the United Kingdom's three-year Brexit crisis, but it still remains uncertain how, when or even whether it will leave the EU.
If May does go, she will become the fourth Conservative prime minister in a row to have fallen foul of divisions over Europe within her centuries-old party, following David Cameron, John Major and Margaret Thatcher.


© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.
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