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Brexit: May urged to set her own exit date

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LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May was under pressure yesterday to give a date for leaving office as the price to bring Brexit-supporting rebel lawmakers in her party behind her twice-defeated European Union divorce treaty.

At one of the most important junctures for the country in at least a generation, British politics was at fever pitch and, nearly three years since the 2016 EU membership referendum, it was still unclear how, when or if Brexit will ever take place.

With Ms May humiliated and weakened, ministers lined up to insist she was still in charge and to deny a reported plot to demand she name a date to leave office at a cabinet meeting yesterday.

“Time’s up, Theresa,” Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper said in a front page editorial. It said her one chance of getting the deal approved by parliament was to name a date for her departure.

“I hope that the cabinet will tell the prime minister the game is up,” Andrew Bridgen, a Conservative lawmaker who supports Brexit, told Sky News.

“The prime minister does not have the confidence of the parliamentary party. She clearly doesn’t have the confidence of the cabinet and she certainly doesn’t have the confidence of our members out there in the country,” he said.

Ministers discussed yesterday how to address parliament’s attempts to take control of Brexit before a meeting of May’s cabinet team, a government source said.

The United Kingdom, which voted 52-48 percent to leave the EU in the referendum, remains deeply divided over Brexit.

Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker attended along with ministers David Lidington and Michael Gove who had been reportedly lined up as caretaker prime ministers. They were forced on Sunday to deny they wanted Ms May’s job.

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