British Prime Minister Theresa May risks the “total collapse” of her government if she fails to get her battered Brexit deal through parliament, the Sunday Times newspaper said, amid growing speculation that she might call an early election.
In a sign of how little room for maneuver May has to break the Brexit impasse, the Sunday Times said at least six pro-European Union members of May’s cabinet of senior ministers will resign if she decides to head for a no-deal Brexit.
But at the same time, Brexit-supporting ministers were threatening to quit if May backed the option of staying close to the EU with a customs union or if she sought a long delay to Brexit, the newspaper said.
May’s Brexit strategy is in tatters after the exit deal she agreed with other EU leaders was rejected for a third time by the House of Commons on Friday, the day that Britain was supposed to leave the bloc.
Nearly three years after the Britons voted by 52-48 percent to end the country’s EU membership, what Brexit will look like or whether it will even happen remains up in the air.
May has said she will step down if she manages get her Brexit deal through parliament, paving the way for another leader to take charge of the next round of negotiations with Brussels about Britain’s future ties to the bloc.
But that last-gasp offer has failed to break the impasse, leading to talk of an election to break the deadlock.
The Mail on Sunday newspaper said May’s advisors were divided over whether she should call an early election if she fails to win support for her Brexit deal from parliament in the coming week.
The newspaper said a possible “run-off” vote could take place on Tuesday in parliament between May’s deal and whatever alternative emerges as the most popular from voting by lawmakers on Monday.
That meant an election could be called as early as Wednesday, the newspaper said, without citing sources.
Additional reporting by David Milliken; Editing by William Schomberg