LONDON – British lawmakers decided on Thursday to seek a Brexit postponement, a movement following months of political stalemate in relation to the separation of Prime Minister Theresa May, which caused a crisis over Britain's departure from the European Union.
The House of Commons voted 412 to 202 to ask the EU to reduce the UK's departure from the bloc to at least June 30 in less than three weeks.
The vote in Parliament comes at the heels of an attempt by legislators to prevent the country from leaving the EU on 29 March without a formal withdrawal agreement. The controversial departure agreement of May has been rejected twice by British MPs, but there is even less reason for a "no deal" exit.
The delay, although adopted in Parliament, must be approved by the leaders of the 27 other members of the EU, and May has indicated that it will make a third attempt – probably next week – to get lawmakers to support its Brexit deal . Even if the Brexit is delayed, Great Britain leaves the EU without a deal if no agreement is reached during the delay.
It is not clear how long an extension would be and whether conditions would be imposed. Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, the Brussels-based body that determines the overall political direction and priorities of the bloc, said in a Thursday tweet that he would call on EU leaders to "be open to a long extension if the UK considers it necessary to reconsider the Brexit strategy and reach consensus on it. "
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Although the block could consider a delay in the Brexit, it became clear that after two years of negotiation with May, it is not open to more talks about its deal, meaning that the prime minister must find a way to convince British legislators.
Lawmakers are desperate to avoid a "no deal" withdrawal because the EU legislation that Britain has adopted for decades covers a range of issues from transportation policy to employee rights that would effectively evaporate overnight.
Michael Gove, UK's environment secretary, told Parliament on Wednesday evening that tens of thousands of companies were not prepared for a "no-deal" exit.
May and the EU have signed critical issues that accompany the EU divorce, such as how much Britain has to pay to leave the block (about $ 50 billion) and what rights EU nationals living in Britain under the mutual arrangements for block's labor rights will have after the divorce (similar to what they have now, but they will have to prove that they are not a burden to the state).
The deal has fallen from British legislators on the issue of the land border between Northern Ireland (part of Great Britain) and Ireland (part of the EU).
The border is open to facilitate trade and travel, and its status is an important element in ensuring peace between the Irish-Catholic community in Northern Ireland and the Protestant Irish community.
May and the EU devised a plan to keep the border open, but British lawmakers who support Brexit fear the plan would bind Britain to the EU indefinitely.
For Brexit supporters, leaving the EU means, among other things, an opportunity to enter into unilateral trade agreements with other countries, including the United States.
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This is not something that Britain can do as part of the EU, which negotiates international trade agreements like a bloc. "My government is looking forward to negotiating a large-scale Trade Deal with the UK. The potential is unlimited!" President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday.
Trump founded Brexit from the White House, where he met the leader of Ireland, Leo Varadkar. "It wasn't that I was a follower, I predicted it would happen, I was right and people laughed when I predicted it," Trump said.
"I'm surprised how bad it all went from the negotiating point of view. … Both sides are very, very … you know, they are cemented," Trump said. "It's a difficult situation, it's a shame, frankly, it's a shame, there was no reason to let that happen."
May has challenged critics who have asked her resignation about her treatment of the Brexit. She refused to consider holding a new national referendum on British EU membership, despite the growing call for one. Great Britain has voted to leave the EU by 52 to 48 percent in 2016. Polls show that the country is still divided over the problem.