Labour said this week that it would back a second referendum, which it had previously ruled out, in order to stop a potentially catastrophic no-deal divorce from the European Union. Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, but May has not yet received parliament's approval for her deal.
“We have been forced into this by Theresa May delaying, running down the clock,” John McDonnell told Sky News, saying Labour is still pushing to get its alternative Brexit plan adopted. “If we can’t get that we will have to break the logjam by going back to the people. It is not what we want, but it is what we have been forced into.”
According to a recent survey, nearly one-third of U.K. businesses is planning to leave or already has left in order to avoid potential damage resulting from a no-deal divorce from the EU.
“Change is a necessary and often positive part of doing business, but the unavoidable disruption and increased trade barriers that no-deal would bring are entirely unproductive,” Edwin Morgan, Interim Director General of the Institute of Directors, which conducted the survey, told The Week.
Meanwhile, British Trade Minister Liam Fox said it was not possible for the EU to offer the U.K. a longer delay of Brexit due to the upcoming European elections in May.
When Fox was asked on BBC TV how he would react if the EU insisted on a much longer delay of 21 months or two years, he said: “I would be shocked because I think it is actually not a possible outcome.”
“The European Union does not want Britain to fight the European elections.”
On Tuesday, May told the House of Commons that there will be a new “meaningful vote” on her deal on March 12. Should that fail, as expected, there would be a vote a day later on a “no-deal Brexit.” May said that, if that fails also, the government would put forward a motion on March 14 “on whether parliament wants to seek a short limited extension to Article 50” -- referring to the trigger mechanism by which Britain would leave the E.U.
“Let me be clear: I do not want to see Article 50 extended,” she said, after clarifying that the delay would be no later than the end of June. “Our absolute focus should be on working to get a deal and leaving on 29 March.”
Fox News' Adam Shaw contributed to this report.