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    Britain's Prime Minister, Theresa May, poses for a photograph with Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Leader Arlene Foster, Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds, and Chief Whip Jeffrey Donaldson, outside 10 Downing Street, in central London, Britain June 26, 2017.

    It Will Be Very Difficult for Theresa May to Win Vote Without DUP Support – Prof

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    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker speaking to Italian Rai TV said that he would like to see London finally reach an agreement in the coming days or even hours. Earlier, the Independent reported that European leaders are ready to allow the UK to delay Brexit once again, pending the results of a second referendum.

    This comes after the House of Commons rejected UK Prime Minister Theresa May's deal for the third time. The EU responded by calling for a summit on 10 April. The Sunday Times reported earlier that a number of ministers from Theresa May's cabinet may resign over differences regarding the country's withdrawal from the European Union as the country has reached a complete deadlock over Brexit.

    Some of the ministers have agreed that they will step down if Mrs May backs the idea of remaining in the EU Customs Union or convinces Conservative lawmakers to support the holding of elections to the European Parliament in the country in May, the news outlet reported on Sunday.

    At the same time, at least six anti-Brexit ministers have reportedly decided to resign if May endorses the idea of a disorderly no-deal Brexit, the paper added. Meanwhile, Theresa May and her cabinet are looking for ways to bring her EU withdrawal agreement back to the Commons for a fourth attempt at winning MPs' backing, the BBC reported on Saturday. Mrs May said the UK would need "an alternative way forward" after her plan was defeated by 58 votes on Friday.

    MPs from all parties will test support for other options during a second round of "indicative votes" on Monday.

    Radio Sputnik has discussed latest developments around Brexit with Professor Eleanor Spaventa, chair in European Law at the Department of Legal Studies at Bocconi University.

    Sputnik: The latest media reports suggest that Theresa May's government is on the brink of collapsing following this third defeat of her Brexit deal. How likely do you think that this is a possibility?

    Eleanor Spaventa: It is very difficult to predict anything at the moment but the problem is that she would collapse even if she resigned, and there is not much indication of that, or the Tories  would have to join the Labour Party in voting the motion of no-confidence and that would be very difficult for the Tories. Or she could call a general election, a snap election, this has been suggested but there are no indications that she would get the majority of the Tory Party to back her on that. And so she keeps on going until when she decides herself to resign.

    READ MORE: No Deal Will Be No Problem Whatsoever — UKIP Member on How UK Should Leave EU

    Sputnik: She has actually offered to resign if her deal is approved. That didn't work the third time though, did it?

    Eleanor Spaventa: That didn't work as well as she was intending it to work. And so yes, if the deal passes then she will resign because that's what she has promised.

    Sputnik: Exactly. But now she is talking about putting this forward for a fourth vote. Do you think that without making any significant changes, which is also very unlikely to happen because she hasn't done it three times before, do you think that it is possible that she will get any more support? Perhaps some MPs are just weary of this ongoing process and are just willing either to vote because they think that it is going to be Theresa May's deal or no Brexit at all, or Theresa May's deal or a crashing out in an unorderly fashion?

    Eleanor Spaventa: Yes, the problem is that even if she could persuade a few more Tories to back her, she cannot persuade the DUP. They have stated very, very clearly that there is no way they are going to vote for this deal.

    And they have repeated that this morning. And so, the pure arithmetic of that makes it very, very difficult for her to win the deal without the backing of the DUP unless there is a possibility. And the possibility is that she comes back with the deal and the different political declaration taken into account what the Commons will decide today if they indeed decide something, which is a not open question.

    So, if the Commons have said: "Okay, we want the Customs Union or the Common market 2.0" or whatever they are going to decide, she could go back to Parliament and say: "Okay, this is my withdrawal agreement on which I ensured the political declaration to take into the account what the Commons have said".

    The only problem is that she has indicated that she is not ready to do that because it would affect her red lines. So and the other possibility is that she backs the second referendum because a number of Tories, pro-European Tories, have said that if she is ready to put the withdrawal agreement back to the people then they will support it.

    Sputnik: Well, let's talk about the possible results for this indicative vote which is scheduled for today. The first time there was no success in understanding what the most popular option is. And let's remember that even if one of those popular options is chosen by a majority, there is no guarantee that the EU is going to…I mean that will have to be negotiated with the EU still. So, what are the chances that the EU would actually negotiate or sort of being willing to accept one of those options, which is outlined in the indicative vote options?

    Eleanor Spaventa: The two main options are in this Customs Union and what is called by the EU the Norway-plus option. And I think both could be negotiated by the EU because the EU has said that it is not going to re-negotiate if the red lines of the UK do not change. But if the red lines of the UK were to change and so they would allow for, for instance, the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice or free movement of people in the case of the single market plus or the Norway option plus, then the EU, I think, would be ready to re-negotiate.

    READ MORE: Almost 50% of French Would Prefer 'Fast No-Deal Brexit' — Poll

    Sputnik: But I am not sure if Parliament is going to be happy with that. I think she just doesn't have support for that. If that was the case perhaps that would have been the deal that was on the table right now instead of Theresa May's deal.

    Eleanor Spaventa: Which Parliament's deal? The UK or the EU Parliament's?

    Sputnik: The UK Parliament.

    Eleanor Spaventa: The UK Parliament has not been given a say until now. This is the last week and this week is the first time in which the Parliament has been given an actual possibility to debate options. And so we see at the moment, the Customs Union only lost by 8 votes last week.

    So, I think it is very difficult to predict whether they are going to back something. I think there is a sense of urgency. They know that they have to come up with something positive because otherwise, they will crash out.

    Because the EU has said that they are only going to give a further extension if the UK has a plan. And if Parliament cannot agree and if the UK doesn't have a plan, they crash out next week.

    Sputnik: Exactly. So, in your view, what are the viable options and the most likely options for Brexit to actually be delivered and when do you think that will actually happen?

    Eleanor Spaventa: A very difficult question. Everyone is trying to work that out. I think it is going to be delayed. I cannot see it… You know, the only possibility the UK coming out on the 22nd of May would be if they change the political declaration and accepted it with the Customs Union or the Norway-plus model because that would take care of the backstop issue.

    But Theresa May has said that she is not willing to do that. So that seems not possible and if that is not possible then they need at least another year.

    The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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