Theresa May Hints at U.K. Election If Parliament Can’t Agree on Brexit Deal


(Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May issued a veiled threat to dissolve Parliament and call a general election, after politicians rejected her Brexit deal for a third time.

“I fear we are reaching the limits of this process in this House,” May told the Commons after her deal was rejected by 344 votes to 286 on Friday.

“This House has rejected no deal,” she said. “It has rejected no Brexit. On Wednesday, it rejected all the variations of the deal on the table. And today it has rejected approving the Withdrawal Agreement alone and continuing a process on the future.”

May has previously said an election is the last thing the country wants. Her spokesman would not go that far on Friday, insisting only that a national vote is not in Britain’s best interests.

But just because May and her team would much prefer to avoid a general election, they clearly can’t rule one out.

The next stage is for the government to wait for members of Parliament to work out their own preferences in a series of votes on Plan B options on Monday. That could provide a Brexit plan that Parliament will support. Then the government will seek to negotiate the next stage of that with the EU in talks that need to begin by April 12, according to government officials.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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