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May presses on with Brexit vote as lawmakers demand better deal

LONDON: Theresa May will push ahead with a crucial vote on her European Union exit deal, her Brexit minister said on Sunday, as senior lawmakers in her own party piled pressure on the British prime minister to go back to Brussels and seek a better offer.

May’s deal, which would see Britain keep close economic ties with the EU, looks set to be rejected by parliament on Tuesday. That decision could throw plans for Britain’s exit into turmoil and leave her own political future hanging in the balance.

The Sunday Times reported May was expected to say on Monday that she was delaying the vote to make a last-minute dash to Brussels to appeal to the EU to improve the deal.

With the country deeply divided, thousands of protesters joined a pro-Brexit march in central London on Sunday to demonstrate against May’s deal. To the east of the city the “People’s Vote” group held a rally calling for a second referendum.

 “The vote is on Tuesday, that is what we are focused on,” Brexit minister Stephen Barclay told BBC TV on Sunday.

 “The risk for those who say simply go back and ask again, the risk is that isn’t necessarily a one way street, the French the Spanish and others will turn round, if we seek to reopen the negotiation, and ask for more,” he added.

Barclay said Britain would enter “uncharted waters” if it loses the vote, but May could stay on as prime minister.

There has been speculation May might use an EU summit on Dec. 13-14 to press for changes to the deal as Britain prepares to leave the EU at the end of next March.

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