UK PM May says 'impossible' to rule out no-deal Brexit

Last Updated 29 January 2019, 13:03 IST

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday said it was "impossible" for her to rule out a no-deal Brexit without stopping the process altogether, as she tries to come up with a strategy before exit day on March 29.

May was responding to a letter from opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn asking her to exclude crashing out of the EU as a precondition for talks about Brexit compromise proposals.

May said she was "disappointed" that Corbyn had not taken up her offer for a meeting to discuss a way forward after her divorce deal with the EU was rejected by parliament this week.

"My door remains open to a meeting without preconditions," she said, adding that she would be "happy to discuss" Corbyn's proposals which include a customs union with the EU.

But she added: "It is not within the government's power to rule out no deal".

Under EU rules for a member state leaving the bloc "we will leave the EU without a deal on March 29 unless parliament either agrees a deal with the EU or the UK revokes Article 50 and chooses to stay in the EU permanently," she wrote.

"So there are two ways to avoid no deal: either to vote for a deal, in particular a withdrawal agreement, that has been agreed with the EU, or to revoke Article 50 and overturn the referendum result," she said.

"I believe it would be wrong to overturn the referendum result," she wrote.

(Published 18 January 2019, 05:21 IST)

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