Merkel ally floats idea of broader talks with United Kingdom if Brexit delayed

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This week alone, lawmakers voted to defeat May's withdrawal agreement, to rule out leaving the European Union without a deal, and to seek a Brexit delay.

May's second-in-command, Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, warned that unless MPs backed the prime minister's deal, the UK's exit from the European Union could face a long delay. Listen to the full conversation here. British lawmakers rejected May's Brexit deal in a 391-242 vote on Tuesday night.

May is expected to again submit the withdrawal deal to lawmakers next week, though it has already been rejected twice.

Speaking to the Press and Journal, he said that if faced with a clear choice of a WTO Brexit of no Brexit at all, then MPs would vote for no Brexit at all and face a backlash. All 27 leaders must unanimously agree.

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The spokesman said the government's motion that will be debated and voted on would be published later on Monday. Ahead of that vote details of how a no deal will impact trade have been released.

A senior European Union official is floating the possibility of a two-step delay to Britain's departure from the bloc, now scheduled for March 29.

Even if the deadline is unanimously agreed, the Prime Minister will still need to get a deal through the Houses of Commons, which is now divided on the matter of the Irish back-stop.

Some have expressed fear that the country's 33.5 billion-euro ($38 billion) tourism industry could suffer if Britain departs from the EU.

Mrs May says she wants to minimise any delay to just three months, but to achieve that she will need parliament to back her deal at the third time of asking early next week.

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Cabinet ministers remained locked in talks this weekend with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist party, who are seen as vital in building a narrow majority for May's deal and who said on Saturday that there were "still issues to be addressed".

The EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said he "doubted" that the prime minister would be able to offer such clarity in time for a summit in Brussels on Thursday, where the bloc's heads of state and government will discuss their reaction. The hazard is that the prime minister faces pressure from within her divided government not to hold an election, and if her deal hasn't been passed by the end of June, Britain would crash out of the bloc into legal limbo.

If the deal is rejected by MPs again, Mrs May has warned that the EU is likely to only accept a longer delay, which would mean the United Kingdom would need to send new MEPs back to the European Parliament.

There were chaotic scenes as a march led by Nigel Farage left Sunderland in order to protest against a perceived Brexit "betrayal".

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The People's Vote campaign, the main movement calling for another referendum, did not want the option brought before parliament, saying it was premature to move now - knowing it would be defeated.

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