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May to Argue Against 2nd Brexit Vote   12/17 06:11

   LONDON (AP) -- Prime Minister Theresa May is set to condemn growing calls 
for a second referendum on Britain's departure from the European Union, saying 
it would do irreparable damage to trust in democracy.

   May's office said she will tell lawmakers in the House of Commons on Monday 
that staging another referendum "would say to millions who trusted in democracy 
that our democracy does not deliver."

   She's also expected to argue that such a ballot would exacerbate the 
country's divisions rather than heal them.

   But a growing number of politicians believe a new referendum may be the only 
way to break Britain's impasse over Brexit.

   May's government and the EU sealed a divorce deal last month, but May 
postponed a parliamentary vote intended to ratify the agreement last week when 
it became clear legislators would overwhelmingly reject it.

   She tried to win changes from the EU to sweeten the deal for reluctant 
lawmakers, but was rebuffed by the bloc at a summit in Brussels.

   And May's authority has been shaken after a no-confidence vote from her own 
party on Wednesday that saw more than a third of Conservative lawmakers vote 
against her.

   With Britain's departure from the bloc looming on March 29, it remains 
unclear whether the country will leave with a deal or crash out with no deal.

   Some members of May's Cabinet are urging the government to ramp up planning 
for a "no-deal" Brexit --- a chaotic outcome that could see gridlock at U.K. 
ports, planes grounded and shortages of essential goods.

   Others are seeking to work with opposition politicians to find a way out of 
the morass.

   May's supporters distanced themselves from media reports that senior figures 
in her government held talks with opposition Labour lawmakers aimed at holding 
another vote.

   But some Cabinet members say lawmakers from all parties should be consulted 
to find out whether there is majority support for any course of action.

   "We can't just have continuing uncertainty and I think Parliament should be 
invited to say what it would agree with," Business Secretary Greg Clark told 
the BBC.

   He said that "I think businesses up and down the country would expect 
elected members to take responsibility, rather than just be critics."


(KA)

 
 
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