U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is calling off a crucial vote in Parliament on whether to approve her Brexit deal and will head back to Brussels to seek a better offer from the European Union.
May told her Cabinet she will travel to Brussels for talks with EU leaders on Thursday and ask for better terms on the most controversial part of the withdrawal agreement — the plan for the Irish border. She spoke to leaders by phone at the weekend, though the bloc has made clear it won’t re-open negotiations.
The vote in the House of Commons was due to be held on Tuesday evening but is now set to be rescheduled, according to people familiar with the situation.
The pound fell to the lowest since June 2017 as fears about a no-deal Brexit resurfaced. U.K. Government bonds rallied, with yields hitting the lowest since August.
May’s plan to delay the vote throws the Brexit process into further turmoil. She has promised to give the House of Commons a binding say on whether or not to ratify the U.K.’s withdrawal agreement with the EU before the country leaves the bloc on March 29. It’s now unclear when that vote will happen, though some expect it won’t be called until January.
The stakes for May are high. If Parliament refuses to endorse the withdrawal agreement, the U.K. will be on course to leave the EU without a deal, unleashing political and economic chaos. May herself could be forced from office and the U.K. might need a fresh election or referendum to resolve the crisis.