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Theresa May in showdown with Parliament as Brexit debate opens

Theresa May in showdown with Parliament as Brexit debate opens
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LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May is putting the fate of her Brexit deal in Parliament’s hands, saying lawmakers must back it to deliver on voters’ 2016 decision to leave the European Union and “create a new role for our country in the world.”

May is due to address Parliament Wednesday, opening five days of debate before a Dec. 11 vote on the divorce agreement.

Defeat would leave the U.K. facing a chaotic “no-deal” Brexit on March 29 and could topple the prime minister, her government, or both.

Before the debate, May’s government faces another showdown with lawmakers over legal advice about the Brexit deal. Lawmakers are voting on a motion finding the government in contempt of Parliament for refusing to publish the full guidance from Attorney General Geoffrey Cox.

British Prime Minister Theresa May brushed aside questions Monday about whether she will resign if her Brexit deal is rejected by Parliament next week, saying she’s confident she’ll still have a job after the crucial vote.

May is battling to persuade lawmakers to support the divorce agreement she has sealed with the EU when the House of Commons votes on Dec. 11. Opposition parties say their representatives will vote against the deal, and so have dozens of lawmakers from May’s Conservative Party.

Defeat would leave the U.K. facing a messy, economically damaging “no-deal” Brexit on March 29 and could topple the prime minister, her government, or both.

May predicted Monday that despite the blowback “I will still have a job in two weeks’ time.”

“My job is making sure that we do what the public asked us to: We leave the EU but we do it in a way that is good for them,” she told broadcaster ITV.

The Conservative prime minister has consistently refused to say what she plans to do if — as widely predicted — the British Parliament rejects the deal her government reached with the EU.

“I’m focusing on … getting that vote and getting the vote over the line,” she said.

Politicians on both sides of Britain’s EU membership debate oppose the agreement that May struck with the bloc — pro-Brexit ones because it keeps Britain bound closely to the EU, and pro-EU politicians because it erects barriers between the U.K. and its biggest trading partner.

May’s opponents argue that Britain can renegotiate the deal for better terms.

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