SNP to launch European election campaign with dig at Tories

Margrethe Vestager

The announcement means a cross-party compromise on Brexit in talks between Labour and the Conservatives is now unlikely before voters go to the polls.

Theresa May has been warned she could end up with an "Auf Wiedersehen Pet" Brexit if she allows MPs to shape any final deal in quitting the EU.

Britain's Conservative government confirmed Tuesday that the country will hold the elections to the European Parliament following MPs' repeated rejection of Prime Minister Theresa May's EU divorce deal.

A Downing Street spokesperson said Tuesday night that the prime minister deeply regrets the United Kingdom did not leave as planned in March and recognizes many people felt great frustration that the European elections were going ahead.

The leaflet links to a website that names the MPs who voted against Mrs May's deal, according to The Times, including 34 Tory Brexiteers.

Earlier on Wednesday, May was confronted in the House of Commons by a Brexit-backing Conservative MP, Andrea Jenkyns, who said: "The public no longer trust her to run Brexit negotiations".

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"We constantly have lively discussions in the National Executive Committee, however I do not think there will be a row", he said. "If it were an issue about me and the way I vote, we would already have left the European Union".

Ongoing talks with Labour to pass an agreement have so far failed to break the deadlock - leaving political parties on both sides of the Brexit divide gearing up for what has been described as a "zombie" poll because the government is still planning to leave the European Union within months.

However, Britain will now participate in the elections following Theresa May's decision to extend Article 50 - the mechanism that allows the United Kingdom to leave the European Union - until October.

"It is regrettably not going to be possible to finish that process before the date that is legally due for the European parliamentary elections", Reuters quoted Lidington as saying.

May had been hoping that her deal or an alternative withdrawal agreement could be raced through the British Parliament to enable the voting in Britain to be cancelled.

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