The Latest: Scotland’s Sturgeon voices ‘relief’ at extension
LONDON — The Latest on Britain’s departure from the European Union (all times local):
Conservative Party legislator Ken Clarke says he does not believe British Prime Minister Theresa May will be able to convince the party to back her Brexit withdrawal deal.
The former Treasury chief told the BBC that the Conservative Party’s right-wing would continue blocking her deal and trying to replace her.
May plans to press Parliament to pass her withdrawal plan in time to avoid European Parliament elections in late May. It has been defeated three times.
Clarke says the only way forward is for May’s government to compromise with the Labour Party to produce a consensus.
He says a solution would be one that takes Britain out of the European Union’s political institutions but keeps close economic ties.
“This is a perfectly sensible compromise and I think she would get it through Parliament,” he said.
Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has voiced her “relief” that there won’t be a ‘no-deal’ Brexit this Friday after Britain was granted an extension to Oct. 31 to leave the European Union.
In a tweet, the leader of the Scottish National Party, warned of tough negotiations ahead and said the extra time should be used to allow “people to decide if they still want to leave.”
Sturgeon has been a staunch opponent of Brexit and said “Scotland’s interests must be protected” in any agreement.
Scotland voted in favor of remaining in the EU in the 2016 referendum that saw Britain as a whole opt to depart.
One of Britain’s leading business lobby groups says the Brexit extension granted to the country at a summit in Brussels overnight means an “imminent economic crisis” has been averted.
However, the Confederation of British Industry is warning that a fresh start is needed to avoid more acute uncertainty in the run up to the new Oct. 31 Brexit deadline.
CBI director-general, Carolyn Fairbairn, said businesses will be adjusting their plans to cope with a potential ‘no-deal’ Brexit later in the year but won’t be cancelling them.
She says Britain’s leaders must make productive use of the time afforded by the extension announced by the EU following hours of discussions.
“Sincere cross-party collaboration must happen now to end this crisis,” she said.
Cross-party talks between the government and the opposition Labour Party have not produced a breakthrough in the Brexit impasse.