British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday said she would delay a crucial vote on her Brexit deal scheduled for Tuesday, saying she had listened to the concerns of critics.
May said she would seek â€œassurancesâ€ from other European leaders ahead of an EU summit later this week in a bid to try to win back support for her maligned plan in Britain.
â€œIf we went ahead and held the vote tomorrow the deal would be rejected by a significant margin,â€ May told parliament.
â€œWe will, therefore, defer the vote scheduled for tomorrow and not proceed to divide the house (of Commons) at this time.â€
May added that she had spoken to â€œa number of EU leadersâ€ over the weekend in advance of a bloc meeting Thursday.
â€œIn advance of the European Council I will go to see my counterparts in other member states and the leadership of the Council and the Commission,â€ she said.
â€œI will discuss with them the clear concerns that this House has expressed.â€
At the same time she said Britain would step up preparations for a no-deal Brexit.
â€œFor as long as we fail to agree a deal, the risk of an accidental no deal increases. So the government will step up its work in preparation for that potential outcome,â€ she told parliament.
May faced a huge rebellion of her own Conservative MPs over the withdrawal agreement she struck in Brussels last month, while opposition parties are also lined up against her.
May held talks this weekend with leaders including EU President Donald Tusk and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The pound fell sharply against the dollar on the announcement, which increased uncertainty over whether Britain will agree any terms with the EU before it leaves the bloc in March next year.