LONDON, UK - British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday deferred a crucial parliamentary vote on the controversial Brexit deal, that allows the United Kingdom to formally leave the European Union (EU).
Speaking at the House of Commons, where the parliamentarians were set to vote on the Brexit agreement on Tuesday, May defended her decision saying that she would lose the vote "by a significant margin" and would now hold talks with the EU leaders to discuss the matter, CNN reported.
"I spoke to a number of EU leaders over the weekend and, in advance of the European Council, I will go to see my counterparts in other member states and the leadership of the Council and the Commission. I will discuss with them the clear concerns that this House has expressed. We will, therefore, defer the vote scheduled for tomorrow and not proceed to divide the House at this time," May said.
In a light-hearted moment, the British leader said that she had listened "very carefully to what has been said in the chamber and out of it," drawing the MPs into laughter.
Commenting on the Northern Ireland backstop, May admitted that there were still "widespread and deep concerns". The backstop is a pact which ensures that there would be no "hard border" between the UK and Ireland.
While the UK is set to leave the European bloc in March next year, Ireland and Northern Part will remain a part of the EU after Brexit.
Although she did not divulge a new date for the crucial vote, May expressed hope that the problems in the backstop agreement would be resolved. She is expected to met European leaders this Saturday.
Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, dubbed May's Brexit deal as a "botched one", while criticising the ruling Conservative Party, saying that the "government lost control of events."
"The government has lost control of events and is in complete disarray. It's been evident for weeks that the prime minister's deal did not have the confidence of this House yet she ploughed on regardless, reiterating 'this is the only deal available,'" Corbyn said.
For long, May has been pushing for the Brexit deal to be accepted by the Parliament. She has repeatedly stated that "this is a Brexit that delivers."
A top EU law officer had recently stated that the UK could unilaterally cancel the Brexit process as the approval of the remaining 27 EU member nations was not necessary. The bloc also clarified that it would not renegotiate the agreement as it was the "only deal possible".
Leaders from EU nations also backed the deal and approved the withdrawal agreement, along with the Political Declaration on the future of EU-UK relations, during a special summit held in Brussels last month.
In 2016, over 50 per cent of the UK electorate voted to leave the EU, following which the British government had triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, beginning the country's process of its exit from the European bloc.
According to the withdrawal agreement, the UK is scheduled to leave the bloc on March 29, 2019, after which it will move into a 21-month long transitional period with the EU. (ANI)