May regrets Britain will hold European elections - spokesman

Cheryl Sanders
May 8, 2019

He made the claim as Theresa May's de facto deputy - David Lidington - appearing to admit defeat in avoiding the May 23 poll.

Britain's Conservative government and the opposition Labour Party resumed Brexit talks on Tuesday to try to find a way to break the deadlock in parliament over the country's departure from the European Union.

The British government on Tuesday acknowledged for the first time that the country will definitely take part in the European Parliament elections this month because there's no chance that a Brexit deal can be approved in time to avoid them.

"What this now means, given how little time there is, is that it is regrettably not going to be possible to finish that process before the date that is legally due for European parliamentary elections", he said.

And he said that "ideally" MEPs voted for by the United Kingdom would never have to take their seats in the European Parliament, as the session does not start until July.

The report cited unnamed government sources, who said the referendum plan would only become relevant if talks with Labour failed and a majority in parliament supported holding another public vote.

Mr Hunt said that after both main parties lost ground in the local elections in England, it was a "crucial week" coming up for the Brexit negotiations.

Members of the Conservative backbench group of MPs will meet again on Wednesday to decide whether to change the party's rules to permit another challenge to her leadership within weeks, after the last vote narrowly went in her favour by nine to seven.

A spokesman described it as a regular meeting, though some newspapers reported that its chairman, Graham Brady, would demand a firm timetable for her departure.

Some members - even some who want May to resign - are nervous that it could look bad to alter party procedures exclusively with a view to ousting the prime minister.

Conservative Brexit supporters might flock to the newly launched Brexit Party of former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, a staunch opponent of Britain's European Union membership.

Pressure on both sides to make progress was heightened by the parties' poor performance in last week's local elections, which both Conservative and Labour leaderships interpreted as a message from voters to get on with delivering Brexit.

Now, David Lidington says "regrettably" it is "not going to be possible to finish that process" before the date the United Kingdom legally has to take part.

"We are playing fast and loose as a party at the moment", he told BBC Radio 4's World at One.

Other reports by iNewsToday