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British prime minister brings up new referendum on Brexit

British prime minister brings up new referendum on Brexit

Posted May. 23, 2019 07:40,   

Updated May. 23, 2019 07:40


British Prime Minister Theresa May made a last-ditch effort to get her Brexit deal approved by offering a “new” plan for Britain’s departure from the European Union on Tuesday at the headquarters of PricewaterhouseCoopers in London. She outlined a 10-point strategy that included a second referendum that she had dismissed so far.

While the prime minister said she personally opposed another referendum on Brexit, she said she recognized the "genuine and sincere" feelings on the issue in the Parliament, adding she will ask the Lower House to decide whether to put her offer to a referendum. If the lawmakers pass it, Britain will have a second referendum on Brexit since the first in June 2016.

International news agency Reuters reported that May’s move was an attempt to win support from the opposition Labour Party. The 10-point plan includes a vote on whether the Parliament wants a temporary customs union membership after Brexit. The offer also reflects the Labour Party’s demands that Britain maintains the EU standards on labor and environment. May had attempted to reach an agreement with the opposition party for the past six weeks, to no avail.

Politico Europe, a media outlet specializing in politics, reported that faced with pressure to resign, May made her last-ditch effort, believing that if the British lawmakers reject her latest offer, she would be able to put more pressure on the Parliament to pass her proposal.

However, May’s offer faced a barrage of criticism from both the Conservative and Labour parties. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn made his rejection clear, saying, “It’s basically a rehash of what was discussed before.” The Labour Party wants to maintain a permanent tariff union with the EU and demands that a second referendum include comprehensive measures that would allow revision of the Brexit agreement itself.

The EU was also skeptical. The Guardian, a major British daily, quoted an EU official as saying that there is no hope on May and that everything is “just noise” until a new British prime minister’s plan is revealed. France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters on Tuesday, “The Brexit Party will create a big headache for the EU if it wins tomorrow’s European elections… I consider that the British people decided to leave the European Union and the faster Britain leaves the better,” Le Maire told reporters.”

Jung-Min Dong ditto@donga.com