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British PM Theresa May Says Impossible To Rule Out No-Deal Brexit

British PM Theresa May Says Impossible To Rule Out No-Deal Brexit

Britain's last-minute scramble to shape its exit from the European Union, its biggest policy upheaval in half a century, hit the rocks on Thursday (Jan 17) as Prime Minister Theresa May and opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn dug in their heels for competing visions.

After a 2016 referendum, in which a majority of 51.9% voted to leave Europe, May invoked Article 50 of the European Union's Treaty of Lisbon.

Swiss ground services and cargo-handling business Swissport Group said a disorderly Brexit could further tighten the U.K.'s labor market, which has already seen fewer European Union candidates entering since the 2016 referendum and where a workforce shortage is driving up labor costs in some parts by as much as 10 percent.

After winning a no-confidence vote on Wednesday, Mrs May and senior Cabinet ministers are meeting representatives of other parties today in a bid to find consensus to break the parliamentary deadlock over Brexit.

Nor would May promise to take off the table the option of leaving the European Union with no deal March 29, which is what the Labour party wants to hear.

In a speech Thursday, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, called May's invitation to talk a "stunt".

On Wednesday night, May, as expected, survived the no-confidence motion by 19 votes before setting in motion the process of rebooting her approach to Brexit.

Her offer to meet with the opposition "rings hollow without evidence of her readiness to compromise on the substance of Brexit", the Guardian newspaper said, pushing for a "menu of options" to be presented to parliament.

"This was illustrative only and our position is of course that there will be no second referendum as the Prime Minister has repeatedly said".

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The Scottish National Party (SNP) is trying to rule out "no-deal" and secure a second referendum, which could only be held if Brexit is postponed.

In a message to Mrs May, Mr Corbyn said: "Take no-deal off the table now please, Prime Minister". The country feels genuinely sorry for the prime minister.

May said she was "disappointed" by Corbyn's decision and stressed that "our door remains open". If the deal can not get through the Commons, there may be no other option but to leave without a deal.

Asked to choose which leader they would prefer to deal with Brexit, 37% back the prime minister, with Mr Corbyn on 23% - both lagging behind "don't know" on 40%.

But she appears to face an uphill struggle after all the opposition party leaders demanded scrapping the possibility of no-deal as a condition of progress, while Labour refused to even sit down with the PM until the concession was guaranteed.

May must "do the right thing and resign", said Corbyn.

That leaves a remaining group: those who want to stop Brexit.

"If anybody believes that you can just go ahead without some sort of an agreement here, I think that that is reckless", said John Bason, finance chief of Associated British Foods, a food and retail group with annual sales of over US$20 billion (S$27.1 billion).

"We can regret this rejection or rejoice in it, but in any case what is certain is that the scenario of a no-deal Brexit is less and less unlikely", Philippe told reporters.