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British PM faces Brexit challenges from her party

London, May 2: Confidence in Britain’s Brexit negotiations ending successfully have hit a new low, according to a new opinion poll. A poll published on Tuesday by the Guardian newspaper and ICM revealed that only 28 per cent think the Brexit talks will conclude satisfactorily, against 47 percent who now think they will end unsatisfactorily, Xinhua reported. In a similar poll in December 39 per cent feared an unsatisfactory outcome, but 35 per cent were confident of a satisfactory outcome.
The results came as Prime Minister Theresa May and her cabinet met at 10 Downing Street to discuss a string of votes in the House of Commons Monday. The votes saw unelected peers in the House of Lords backing amendments against May’s flagship European Union withdrawal bill. The biggest blow was an amendment passed by 335 votes to 244, which would give MPs the power to stop Britain from leaving the EU without a deal, or make May return to the negotiating table, ruling out a no-deal scenario. Downing Street said there was concern the amendments risked tying the government’s hands behind its back in negotiations. May’s spokesperson said both the Prime Minister and the Brexit secretary, David Davis, said the government would be robust when the EU withdrawal bill returned to the House of Commons after completing its passage in the House of Lords. In a Tuesday radio interview International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said it was not acceptable for the unelected House of Lords to try to block the democratic will of the British people, who voted by a 52-48 margin in June, 2016 to leave the EU. Fox said the House of Lords amendment opened up the possibility of delaying Britain’s exit from the EU indefinitely. It will be up to the House of Commons to decide whether to accept the amendments to the Brexit bill from the House of Lords, or strike out the proposed changes. To add to May’s woes, media reports in London say several of her senior ministers have threatened to resign if she strikes a deal that will keep Britain in a customs union. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita