FILE PHOTO: An EU flag flies above Parliament Square during a Unite for Europe march, in London, Britain March 25, 2017.
Lawmakers in Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative party believe they can stop Britain leaving the European Union without a deal if such a situation should arise, news media reported on Tuesday.
The economic impact of a "cliff-edge" Brexit, alongside the failure of the Conservatives to win a majority in the general election, should lead to a rethink of the position that "no deal is better than a bad deal", Sky News reported, citing at least 30 Conservative lawmakers.
Sky quoted a former minister saying "no deal is now dead", and anticipating a transition phase of five to 10 years inside the European Economic Area.
May is eight seats short of a majority in Britain’s parliament amid increasingly evident cracks in her own party just as crucial Brexit negotiations get under way.
She sets out her policy plans in parliament on Wednesday without an arrangement giving her government enough support to pass legislation. She needs the support of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which is expected to use its 10 votes to back her in exchange for a series of agreements.
The BBC also said some senior Conservatives believe they can stop the government leaving the EU without a deal.
"If such a scenario is looming, they would have the numbers to pass an amendment to the EU repeal bill … cancelling (it)," the BBC’s political editor Nicholas Watt said, citing senior Conservatives.
Some business leaders fear that May’s insistence that "no deal is better than a bad deal" will cost them business in the European Union, and finance minister Philip Hammond has now re-emerged as big business’ leading proponent.
(Reporting by Elisabeth O’Leary in Edinburgh and Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru)