Brexit pressure rises, but UK government says no to second vote
Britain's government is not preparing for a second referendum on Brexit, ministers said on Sunday, sticking to the script that Prime Minister Theresa May's deal could still pass through parliament with a few changes.
May delayed a vote last week on her agreement to leave the European Union (EU) because she was set to lose in parliament and has tried to secure "assurances" from the bloc to try to better sell it to skeptical lawmakers. Brussels said last week it was ready to help but warned her that she could not renegotiate the deal.
Ministers: No second referendum
With May facing deadlock in parliament over the deal and the EU offering little so far, more politicians are talking about the possibility of Britain leaving without an agreement or a second referendum that could stop Brexit from happening.
Asked if the government was preparing for a vote, education minister Damian Hinds told Sky News: "No, a second referendum would be divisive. We've had the people's vote, we've had the referendum and now we've got to get on with implementing it."
Trade minister Liam Fox also said a second referendum would "perpetuate" the deep divisions in Britain, adding that the prime minister was securing the necessary assurances to persuade parliament to back her deal.
Opposition: Force to bring out deal
But the longer it takes, voices urging a change of tack are getting louder and the pressure on the main opposition Labor Party to move against the government is rising.
Andrew Gwynne, Labor's policy chief for communities and local government, said: "We will be using whatever mechanisms we have at our disposal next week to try and force the government to bring forward that deal for a vote before Christmas."
Irish FM: Delay for an 'entirely new' proposal
Britain would likely have to delay its departure from the EU or rescind its exit notification "for the moment" if it wanted to put an "entirely new" Brexit proposal forward, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Sunday.
"If there is an entirely new proposal coming from the UK, I think undoubtedly it would need a lot more time to be considered on the EU side and that would probably involve an extension of Article 50 or pulling Article 50 for the moment,” Coveney told RTE television when asked how the EU would react to a British parliamentary majority for an alternative to the current deal.
"But I think that would be a big decision for the UK to make and Theresa May has said she doesn't want to do that," Coveney said.