Luxembourg PM Backs New Referendum If Brexit Deal Fails Again

(Bloomberg) --

Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel gave Theresa May’s Brexit deal 50-50 odds of passing the British Parliament and said the best outcome if it fails again would be a second referendum that results in the U.K. remaining in the European Union.

EU leaders gave Prime Minister May an extra two weeks to work out the logistics of the U.K.’s departure, staving off the threat of the country crashing out without a deal on March 29, the original exit date. If the House of Commons doesn’t endorse May’s deal next week, the leaders gave her until April 12 to decide whether to leave without an agreement or request a much longer extension.

“It’s the best possible deal for the U.K. also for Europe,’’ Bettel said of the negotiated withdrawal agreement that the U.K. Parliament has rejected twice. If it fails a third time, “the best possible outcome would be a new referendum and to stay,’’ he told reporters in Brussels.

“This new delay is good if we’re able to have a deal,” Bettel said, insisting that May “has a plan” for persuading members of Parliament to support the agreement. “And I hope we’ll have a deal,” he said.

The government in London plans to bring May’s Brexit deal back to Parliament next week, according to a U.K. official, most likely on Tuesday or Wednesday. Parliament is also due to start voting next week on possible alternatives to May’s plan.

“The House of Commons can even decide other things,” Bettel said. “We have to wait and see what will happen in London and hope for the best.”

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.