Prime Minister Theresa May sought Angela Merkel’s support to save her Brexit deal
Berlin. Prime Minister Theresa May sought Angela Merkel’s support on Tuesday to save her floundering Brexit deal but the European Union ruled out renegotiating the divorce treaty, after May postponed a parliamentary vote she admitted she would lose.
Less than four months until the United Kingdom is due to leave the EU on March 29, May warned British lawmakers that if they rejected her deal then the only other options were a disorderly no-deal divorce, or a reversal of Brexit that would defy the will of those who voted for it.
A day after pulling the vote in the face of hostility from lawmakers, May rushed from London for breakfast in The Hague with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and then a meeting in Berlin with Europe’s most powerful leader, German Chancellor Merkel in a frantic bid to save her deal.
The message from the EU was clear: It will give “clarifications” but will not countenance reopening the treaty.
“The deal we achieved is the best possible. It’s the only deal possible. There is no room whatsoever for renegotiation,” European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said in an address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
In rainy Berlin, a hitch with May’s car door briefly trapped her inside, delaying her red carpet handshake with Merkel.
The British parliament will vote on a deal before Jan. 21, May’s spokeswoman said. If there is no satisfactory deal by then, parliament will still be given a debate on the issue.
The British pound, which has lost 25 cents against the U.S. dollar since the 2016 referendum, was up 0.4 percent at $1.2615, a recovery of sorts after falling 1.6 percent on Monday.