British Prime Minister Theresa May today called off a Tuesday vote by the U.K. Parliament on her negotiated plan to withdraw from the European Union. Without giving a specific timeline, May said the vote was delayed because she believed her Brexit plan "would be rejected by a significant margin.”
May’s action, announced in a session of Britain’s House of Commons, created an immediate uproar among lawmakers demanding to know if she planned to make changes to the Brexit plan and when a new vote would be scheduled.
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labor Party leader, advised May not to reschedule a vote on the same “botched deal,” but also warned the European Commission would not renegotiate the deal.
“I am determined to do all I can to secure the reassurances this House requires to get this deal over the line and deliver for the British people,” May said amid shouts of derision and support from lawmakers.
But from a perspective of U.S. politicians, businesses and agricultural groups hoping to strike a free trade agreement with the U.K., May’s Brexit plan would be stifling. That’s because her so-called “soft” Brexit plan would keep the U.K. beholden to all of the tariffs and non-tariff trade barriers maintained by the European Union that have frustrated U.S. trade negotiators for years.
Instead, they would like to see a “hard” Brexit that decisively did away with things like the EU’s steep tariffs on U.S. rice exports and European bans on antimicrobial rinses used by most U.S. poultry producers to prevent salmonella contamination. The U.K., if it ditched European restrictions, could be importing a lot more U.S. farm commodities, but that won’t happen under May’s proposed Brexit plan, say British and U.S. officials that support a hard Brexit.
Just last month President Donald Trump was critical of May’s Brexit plan.
"Right now if you look at the deal, (the UK) may not be able to trade with us,” Trump said in a quote reported by the BBC. “And that wouldn't be a good thing. I don't think they meant that."
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