The Latest: UK Parliament to hold Brexit debate Friday
LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Britain’s departure from the European Union (all times local):
The British government says it plans to hold a new Brexit debate in Parliament Friday, but hasn’t confirmed whether it will call a third vote on its twice-rejected European Union divorce deal.
House of Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom says lawmakers will hold an unscheduled sitting day to debate a Brexit motion.
The EU has given Britain until Friday to approve the Brexit deal and ensure an orderly departure from the bloc on May 22.
But Prime Minister Theresa May is still struggling to win over lawmakers, who have twice rejected the deal by large margins.
And the House of Commons speaker says the government can’t bring the rejected deal back a third time unless it is substantially changed.
Leadsom says “we recognize that any motion brought forward tomorrow will need to be compliant with the speaker’s ruling.”
The European Union says it hopes to see a “yes” vote on Brexit soon in the British parliament and especially this week if the U.K. wants to leave the EU based on the deal both sides have agreed.
British lawmakers voted late Wednesday on eight possible Brexit options but none received the majority support that would clarify the U.K.’s future course.
European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said Thursday that “we counted 8 ‘no’s last night. Now we need a yes on the way forward.”
He recalled that EU leaders insist that the new Brexit date is April 12, unless Prime Minister Theresa May can convince British lawmakers to endorse her deal this week.
Schinas said: “It is now for the U.K. government to inform us about how it sees the next steps.”
A survey of German companies’ subsidiaries in Britain and British firms’ subsidiaries in Germany has found that nearly half the companies aren’t prepared for Brexit.
The survey of 101 firms, conducted in December and January and released Thursday, showed that 47 percent hadn’t carried out a Brexit risk assessment. It was conducted by auditor KPMG and the British Chamber of Commerce in Germany.
It showed a wide variety of expectations for the outcome of the Brexit impasse. KPMG’s Andreas Glunz said that “when all scenarios are possible, a company can’t prepare for all scenarios simultaneously.”
Thirteen percent of respondents said that, if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal, they would move some or all of their business from the U.K. to Germany, and a further 10 percent planned to move business from Britain to another EU country. None planned to move business to Britain.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is making a final effort to save her European Union withdrawal deal after her promise to quit failed to win over lawmakers from Northern Ireland.
May pledged Wednesday night that she would stand down if the deal were approved, in hopes of blunting opposition from lawmakers who have criticized her leadership. While some opponents, including former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, quickly said they would back May’s deal, Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party said it remained opposed because of concerns it treats the province differently from other parts of the U.K.
Parliament later rejected eight alternatives in a series of “indicative votes.”
Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay said the outcome showed May’s deal was “the best option” as he appealed for lawmakers to support the agreement.