British lawmakers back Brexit delay - Newspaper

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The British pound was unchanged on Friday at the end of its best week since January, as investors waited for next week's parliamentary vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's deal to exit the European Union.

A cabinet minister involved in the talks with the DUP told the Spectator the chances of the party backing the government's deal were around 60 percent.

May hopes the threat of a long delay will push Brexit supporters in her Conservative Party and members of the Democratic Unionists, the small Northern Irish party that props up her minority government in parliament, to back her deal at the third attempt.

It could be a legal standpoint that aids Prime Minister Theresa May to get Brexiteers that have opposed her deal twice, to vote for it in a third round next week.

The fear of a Brexit delay or a second referendum is winning some support but so far, not by the numbers needed to turn last week's defeat into this week's victory.

"There will be Conservatives who vote against it come what may, that's why in order for it to pass three things have to happen: she has to get the DUP on board, she has to persuade as many as possible of the 75 (Brexiteer) Conservatives to vote for it, and she will nearly certainly need more Labour MPs", said John Whittingdale, a Conservative lawmaker and member of the pro-Brexit faction.

'The alternative if Parliament can not agree the deal is much worse. There is no deal in place for now and Theresa May faces an uphill task of convincing the European Union to delay Brexit and fashion a deal that works for both parties. "I believe in the situation we are in a extension would be rational", said Tusk in a press conference.

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Next week, the EU's leaders will meet at a summit to discuss the extension of Britain's membership after 29 March, as well as the terms and length of the delay.

In another sign of how Brexit continues to reshape loyalties in Britain's politics, a senior Conservative lawmaker quit his local party on Saturday due to disagreements over Brexit.

"If the United Kingdom requests an extension of the exit deadline beyond June 30, it's obligatory that it carries out European elections", Portuguese Foreign Affairs Minister Augusto Santos Silva said at a press conference on Friday.

The amendment by Hilary Benn, Yvette Cooper and Tory Oliver Letwin would allow 25 MPs from 5 parties to table a motion next Wednesday afternoon - the latest deadline for getting a Brexit deal - to change future Commons business.

"Obviously we are hoping the deal will be ratified in the House of Commons before then, but if it's not we are ready".

Barry Lockey, who arrived in Sunderland carrying a flag with the message "Get Britain out: Time to leave the EU", said that the event is about supporting democracy.

Meanwhile Europe's leaders are considering whether to agree to the UK Parliament's call for Brexit to be delayed.