The Latest: UK lawmakers reject having new Brexit referendum

Posted on Thursday, March 14th, 2019 By The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Britain's departure from the European Union (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

Britain's Parliament has voted against holding a new Brexit referendum, at least for now.

Lawmakers defeated by a decisive 334-85 vote a motion that called for another public vote on whether to stay in the European Union or leave.

Campaigners for a new referendum are divided over whether the time is right to push for a second Brexit vote. This vote on Thursday doesn't prevent lawmakers from trying again later to win Parliament's support for a second Brexit referendum.

Britain voted by 52-to-48 percent in 2016 to leave the EU.

Britain's Parliament is holding a series of votes Thursday on whether to delay the U.K.'s departure from the 28-nation bloc, which is currently scheduled for March 29.

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4:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump says Britain's debate over leaving the European Union is "tearing the country apart."

Trump commented Thursday as he welcomed Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar to the White House for an early St. Patrick's Day celebration.

Trump said he's "surprised at how badly" the Brexit negotiations have been handled. Trump, who sees himself as a deal-maker, said he gave advice to British Prime Minister Theresa May but she didn't listen to him.

He said both sides are very "cemented in" and he called it a "tough situation" and a "shame."

British lawmakers later Thursday will vote on whether to seek a delay to Britain's departure from the EU, which is currently scheduled for March 29. May grudgingly granted the vote after Parliament twice rejected her proposed EU divorce deal.

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1:10 p.m.

Acknowledging that the Brexit process is stuck, the British government says it will give lawmakers a series of votes on what to do next if Parliament does not approve an EU divorce deal by next week.

Prime Minister Theresa May has struck a deal with the EU on withdrawal terms, but Parliament has twice rejected it — and Britain is due to leave the EU in 15 days, on March 29. Lawmakers are due to vote later Thursday on whether to seek to delay the country's exit.

May has signaled that she plans to try one more time next week to win backing for her deal.

Her deputy prime minister, David Lidington, says that if it is rejected, the government will "facilitate" votes in late March or early April "to seek a majority on the way forward."

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12:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump says his administration "looks forward to negotiating a large scale Trade Deal with the United Kingdom" as the country continues to try to hash out its departure from the European Union.

Trump's tweet Thursday comes as British lawmakers appear set to put the brakes on Brexit, at least for now.

Parliament is set to vote later on whether to ask the European Union to request a delay the U.K.'s exit, due in just over two weeks on March 29. Lawmakers have committed the country to staying in the bloc unless a divorce deal is ratified.

Trump has been critical of Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, previously warning that it could "kill" a bilateral trade agreement between the U.S. and the U.K.

But he now he says: "The potential is unlimited!"

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11:30 a.m.

Belgium's prime minister says Britain's government needs to make clear what it wants from Brexit if it asks for a delay in its departure from the European Union.

Charles Michel said in Brussels said he wasn't sure more time was the answer. The EU, he added, needs "more decisions" from London.

Earlier this week, British lawmakers voted against Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit divorce deal with the EU and on Wednesday night rejected the prospect of leaving without any agreement.

Later Thursday, lawmakers in the House of Commons will vote on whether to seek an extension to the March 29 departure date.

Michel said: "We have to know, what is the intention of the British parliament? What are the choices of the British authorities?"

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9:25 a.m.

Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, says the bloc should be open to granting Britain a long delay to its departure.

In a tweet, Tusk said Thursday that, in consultations ahead of next week's summit of EU leaders in Brussels, he will appeal to the leaders of the other 27 EU nations "to be open to a long extension if the U.K. finds it necessary to rethink its Brexit strategy and build consensus about it."

The prospect of Brexit being delayed from the scheduled date of March 29 has grown over recent days after Prime Minister Theresa May saw her withdrawal agreement with the EU heavily defeated again in the British Parliament. Lawmakers in London are set to vote later Thursday on whether to request May to seek an extension from the EU.

Her preference appears to be for a short delay, until the end of June. She has warned Brexit supporters who oppose her deal that if no withdrawal agreement is passed in the coming days, the extension could then last a long time and could mean Brexit never actually happens.

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9:10 a.m.

British lawmakers are set to vote on whether to delay Britain's departure from the European Union as Prime Minister Theresa May struggles to overcome further erosion of her authority.

The vote later Thursday comes a day after chaotic scenes in the House of Commons, when lawmakers voted to rule out leaving the EU without a deal. Over a dozen government ministers abstained rather than support May's bid to preserve the no-deal option.

May now plans to make a third attempt to get lawmakers to support her Brexit deal.

Treasury chief Philip Hammond told Sky on Thursday that there was "confusion" around Wednesday night's votes, when several ministers failed to back the government. But he told Sky: "I don't expect there to be mass sackings as a result of last night."

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