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PM should 'look closely' at customs union Brexit, says minister

PM should 'look closely' at customs union Brexit, says minister

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg arrives at the Houses of Parliament in London on March 29, 2019.

She said the implications of the vote were "grave", adding: "I fear we are reaching the limits of this process in this House".

In the last round, 188 MPs voted for this plan and 283 voted against. Time is of the essence, we have got Brexit to deliver.

Lawmakers rejected her Brexit deal with the European Union for a third time last week, though the agreement failed by fewer votes - 58.

That left May as the leader of a minority Conservative government and forced her into an alliance with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party. The country's ruling Conservative Party is fractured by an undeclared leadership contest.

On Wednesday, UK parliamentarians voted against eight alternative Brexit options including leaving without a deal, holding a second Brexit referendum and abandoning the withdrawal plans.

"The Remainers clearly want a customs union as an alternative but there isn't a majority for that in the party - it would destroy the [Tory] party", one ministerial source told The Telegraph.

This motion proposes that the United Kingdom rejoins the European Free Trade Association as soon as possible, meaning the United Kingdom stays in the single market.

"There are now a really limited range of options", Conservative deputy chair James Cleverly told Sky News.

One of the MPs who signed the letter said it was two paragraphs long and called on her not to move towards adopting a customs union.

He said: "I don't see how a general election solves this issue".

"I think it's very telling that the Article 50 withdrawal agreement is increasingly called Theresa May's deal so it makes it clear exactly where the blame lies when things go wrong".

However, former prime minister Sir John Major warned that if Parliament was unable to agree a way forward there could come a point where there would have to be a government of national unity.

Mr Lewis told Radio 4's Today programme: "The government's position is very clear - we do not support these options".

If the government can't bridge the gap by April 12, Britain will crash out of the European Union without a plan for future relations, damaging its economy, undermining the country's unity and diminishing its stature in the world.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he backed that idea and called for Mrs May to quit. In an effort to win support for her deal, May said she wouldn't lead those talks.

But Downing Street later said this was not an "inevitability".

The withdrawal agreement allows for a long transition period which would temporarily maintain the status quo to give individuals and businesses time to adapt to the future UK-EU relationship.

It could also be the first opportunity for Mrs May to bring back her deal for a fourth time if she thinks she has the numbers - and if Speaker John Bercow will let her.

The UK continues to grapple with a self-made Brexit crisis, stemming from the government's inability to agree on the proper terms with which it will exit the European Union following the decision to do so two years ago.

Meanwhile, Leave voters registered their anger at the latest vote rejection with a protest at Westminster.

Conservative former Attorney General Dominic Grieve, who has campaigned for a further referendum on the deal, is facing deselection after losing a vote of no-confidence in his Beaconsfield constituency.

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