LONDON (Reuters) – The chairman of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party said all options were on the table for how to get Britain out of its Brexit impasse but that seeking a customs union with the European Union would be difficult.
FILE PHOTO: Flags flutter outside the Houses of Parliament, ahead of a Brexit vote, in London, Britain March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Jacobs
“We’ve got to look at what we can do next and we have to do something different,” Brandon Lewis told BBC radio on Saturday when asked if May might try to put her withdrawal agreement to a parliamentary vote yet again.
Lawmakers rejected May’s Brexit deal for a third time on Friday, leaving Britain’s withdrawal from the EU in turmoil on the day it was originally due to leave the bloc.
“Parliament will continue this process on Monday and we’ve got to look at all the options,” Lewis said.
With parliament and the government deadlocked on May’s deal, it remains unclear how, when or even whether Britain will leave the EU.
On Monday lawmakers will try to agree on an alternative Brexit plan that could command majority cross-party support. The options that have so far gathered most support involve closer ties to the EU and a second referendum.
Lewis said the option of a customs union would be difficult to pursue because it flew in the face of the Conservatives’ pledges before the 2017 national election and did not respect the outcome of the 2016 Brexit referendum.
When asked if a way out of the impasse was to hold a fresh national election, Lewis said he did not think British voters wanted to return to the polls.
The BBC said government officials had not ruled out the possibility of a run-off vote in parliament between the most popular option proposed by lawmakers and May’s deal.
Lewis backed May to continue as prime minister but said he was aware of a letter sent to her by Conservative lawmakers calling for her to resign.
Reporting by William Schomberg and Elisabeth O’Leary; Editing by Catherine Evans