British Prime Minister Theresa May has delayed a vote in Parliament on her Brexit deal.
“We won’t bring a meaningful vote to parliament this week, but we will ensure that that happens by the 12th of March,” May told reporters, according to Reuters. “It is still within our grasp to leave the European Union with a deal on the 29th of March, and that is what we are working to do.”
But the delay means that a vote could come just 17 days before the U.K. is due to leave the EU, leading some opponents to accuse May of trying to run out the clock. In fact, three members of her cabinet recently declared that they would side with the opposition to prevent a no-deal Brexit.
Yvette Cooper, an opposition Labour lawmaker who has proposed legislation to block a no-deal Brexit, said the prime minister’s “last minute announcement that she won’t put a deal to parliament this week, and is leaving it until just two weeks before Brexit day, is utterly shambolic and irresponsible.”
“She cannot just keep drifting and dithering like this or there is a real risk our whole country tumbles off a cliff edge into a chaotic no deal that no one is ready for and that would hit food prices, medicine supplies, manufacturing and security,” Cooper added.
Last month, the British Parliament voted 432-202 against May’s deal, with the Irish “backstop” issue remaining front and center and still unresolved. That has led EU officials to consider different scenarios ahead of Britain’s exit, including an extension of Brexit for up to two years. It won’t, however, reopen the withdrawal agreement.
One thing is certain: Europeans are growing frustrated with the process.
“You need two to dance tango, and I know how to dance,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said when asked if he was running out of things to give on Brexit. “I have a certain Brexit fatigue.”