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UK's May to lawmakers: Brexit deal to be voted on Dec 11
UK's May to lawmakers: Brexit deal to be voted on Dec 11

London, Nov 27 (TIWN / IANS) British Prime Minister Theresa May announced on Monday that Parliament will vote on the Brexit accord on Dec 11.

After days of speculation about the date, the only thing that had been known about which was the fact that it would occur before the Christmas recess, the conservative premier confirmed on Monday that the vote will take place on the second Tuesday of December in the House of Commons, reports Efe news.

"I'm looking ahead to December 11, when this House will be faced with a decision as to whether or not it wishes to deliver on the vote of the British people with a deal that not only delivers on that vote but also protects their jobs," said May of the upcoming vote, speaking in the House of Commons.

May appeared at Westminster on Monday after, on Sunday, the 27 nations of the European Union gave the green light to her Brexit agreement, which must be ratified by the House of Commons and by the European Parliament.

"There is a choice which this House will have to make," May told the assembled lawmakers. "We can back this deal, deliver on the vote of the referendum and move on to building a brighter future of opportunity and prosperity for all our people. Or this House can choose to reject this deal and go back to square one."

"No one knows what would happen if this deal doesn't pass. It would open the door to more division and more uncertainty, with all the risks that will entail," she said.

Before the vote there will be a debate on the deal lasting five days and beginning on Dec. 4.

The pact agreed to between May and the European Council has been rejected by dozens of lawmakers from her party, the opposition Labour Party and Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which the Tories depend on to maintain their governing coalition.

Earlier on Monday, May gave lawmakers an ultimatum to back her Brexit deal with the EU when it is submitted to a parliamentary vote or risk bringing more division to society in the United Kingdom.

May returned to the lower chamber of lawmaking a day after EU member states gave unanimous backing to a deal on the UK's withdrawal from the bloc but now must convince a majority of Members of Parliament to vote in its favor when it is put to a meaningful vote in the chamber.

The British premier took the opportunity to highlight that her deal would end freedom of movement, one of her cornerstone policies in her Brexit agenda, but once again acknowledged discontent over the Northern Ireland backstop agreement with the EU, an insurance policy set in place that would tie the UK territory to the EU to maintain a soft Irish border in the event that no final deal is reached.

MPs have criticised the UK's inability to withdraw from such a deal unilaterally should it come to pass, but May responded on Monday saying that without a backstop there would be no Brexit deal.

Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, urged May to seek a softer, Plan B Brexit deal and warned her current plan would struggle to pass the Commons vote, which would be a act of "national self-harm", he said.

"This deal is not a plan for Britain's future, so for the good of the nation the House has very little choice but to reject this choice," Corbyn said.

Another sticking point in the Brexit negotiations was the topic of Gibraltar, the tiny British overseas territory on the Iberian Peninsula. Spain's government recently ramped up its protest that the territory's future was being exclusively negotiated by the UK and the EU.

May said that her withdrawal agreement would also apply to Gibraltar and that Spain had failed in its bid to edit the deal.

The UK is on track to leave the EU on March 19, 2019, almost three years after voters narrowly opted to leave in a referendum.

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