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UK PM May’s party slumps to fifth place as pressure mounts for her to go


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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at church, as Brexit turmoil continues, in Sonning, Britain - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters): British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives have fallen to fifth place in an opinion poll ahead of the 23 May European parliamentary election as pressure grows for her to set a date for her own departure.

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party was in the lead, up four percentage points, on 34% while May’s Conservative Party had just 10%, the YouGov poll for the Times newspaper showed. The opposition Labour Party was down five points on 16%.

Two parties which support staying in the EU, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, were on 15% and 11% respectively.

The collapse in support for the Conservative Party is piling pressure on May to set a date for her departure. Senior Conservatives want May to set out her plans this  week. Nearly three years since the United Kingdom voted 52% to 48% to leave the European Union, there is still no agreement among British politicians about when, how or even if the divorce should take place. “The reason I am back today doing what I am doing is because frankly we’ve been betrayed by our career political class,” Farage told TalkRadio. “If the Brexit Party comes out on top in a couple of weeks’ time, we must have a place at the negotiating table with the government to help put together our strategy.” Britain was due to have left the European Union on 29 March, though May has been unable to get her divorce deal approved by parliament so she has turned to the Labour Party, led by socialist Jeremy Corbyn, in a bid to court his support. Labour’s Brexit pointman, Keir Starmer, told The Guardian newspaper that any cross-party deal lacking a confirmatory referendum would not pass parliament as about 150 Labour lawmakers would oppose such a deal.

May, who secured the leadership in the chaos that followed Britain’s 2016 vote to leave the European Union, has promised to step down if lawmakers back the deal she struck with Brussels to leave the bloc.

But the prime minister has lost heavily on three attempts to get it through parliament. The new deadline for leaving the EU is 31 October though many Brexit supporters fear that the whole divorce could be derailed.


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