London (Reuters): Prime Minister Theresa May warned lawmakers on Saturday that Britain could be faced with a Brexit “cliff edge” if they fail to back her EU repeal bill, as reports suggest momentum is growing within the ruling Conservative party to unseat her.
British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during a joint press conference with her Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe at the state guest house in Tokyo, Japan August 31, 2017. REUTERS
On Thursday, British lawmakers will hold their first full parliamentary debate on legislation dubbed the Great Repeal Bill, which will sever the country’s ties with the European Union.
May failed to win a clear mandate at a snap 7 June election and only has a slim majority in parliament thanks to an agreement with a smaller party. She remains vulnerable if her pro-European lawmakers team up with other parties to vote down legislation or support amendments.
The main opposition Labour Party is planning to table several changes to the repeal bill designed to keep Britain in the single market and customs union during a Brexit transition period after 2019, according to The Times.
On Saturday, May’s deputy warned Conservative lawmakers from doing anything that would increase Labour’s chances of returning to power, while May said the bill was the best way to ensure Britain’s successful exit from the European Union.
“The Repeal Bill ... (is) the single most important step we can take to prevent a cliff-edge for people and businesses, because it transfers laws and provides legal continuity,” she said in comments provided by her office.
“We ... welcome the contributions of MPs from across the House. But for us to grasp the great prize ahead of us, that contribution must fit with our shared aim: to help Britain make a success of Brexit.”
But in a move that would irk many Eurosceptics, May is preparing to pay a Brexit divorce bill of up to 50 billion pounds ($65 billion) to the EU, The Sunday Times reported, citing an unnamed source. A spokeswoman at May’s office told Reuters the report “is simply not true.”