Blair: May is irresponsible to try and steamroller her deal through

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But with many options and little time before Britain is set to leave the bloc on March 29, May's critics - like former minister Jo Johnson - are accusing her of "running down the clock".

MPs were due to vote on Mrs May's Brexit deal last Tuesday, but it was postponed when the prime minister admitted it would have been "rejected by a significant margin". If May can't find a plan that Parliament will accept, the United Kingdom will be on course to crash out of the bloc without a deal to cushion the blow, causing economic damage that British authorities predict could include a 25 percent fall in the value of the pound and a 30 percent crash in house prices.

He said: "Far from being anti-democratic it would be the opposite, as indeed many senior figures in her party from past and present have been saying".

"We urge everyone - our political leaders and all of us - to bring magnanimity, respect and reconciliation to our national debate", the bishops said.

Mrs May will say: "Let us not break faith with the British people by trying to stage another referendum".

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Prime Minister Theresa May will on Monday, December 17, warn MPs against supporting a second referendum, saying it would do "irreparable damage" to British politics.

It is certainly a sign of how the so-called "People's Vote" has gained currency in the past couple of weeks, that arguing against it as a way to break the deadlock is the prime minister's main message coming out of the failed summit.

Two of Theresa May's trusted 10 Downing Street team have reportedly begun secretly preparing for a second referendum on the final Brexit deal, against the Prime Minister's wishes.

She said: "For Tony Blair to go to Brussels and seek to undermine our negotiations by advocating for a second referendum is an insult to the office he once held".

The move followed reports that Lidington held talks with Labour MPs last week aimed at getting cross-party consensus for a new referendum. "I can confirm that the meaningful vote will not take place before Christmas but it will happen as soon as possible when the House (Parliament) returns, and obviously before January 21", the spokeswoman said.

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That process requires the United Kingdom to leave the European Union on March 29, whether a withdrawal deal is in place or not.

Lidington replied that he always listened to MPs' views but pointed to recent remarks in parliament where he said a second referendum may not be decisive and could damage confidence in democracy.

"It wasn't the government given an instruction in the referendum, it was Parliament, they gave us an instruction and it's time Parliament carried it out", he told BBC TV. Writing in the Daily Mail newspaper, she said it was time to "abandon outrage and accusations" and "try something different".

Mrs May will this week attempt to keep her Brexit deal afloat by calling in European Union ambassadors to Downing Street and sending a government lawyer to Brussels for talks on the Irish backstop.

Dozens of MPs from all sides support a second referendum and there have been reports that officials are considering the possibility of giving the public a vote.

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