UK: Amid Brexit row, second minister quits in one day

Monitoring Desk

LONDON: Britain’s Brexit minister has resigned from the government, bringing the number of resignations on Wednesday to two after fallout over Prime Minister May’s decision to request another extension from the EU for next steps in Brexit.

“After much contemplation, I have decided to leave Theresa May’s Government,” Chris Heaton-Harris said in his resignation letter, defending a no-deal Brexit.

He said that he thought the U.K. should have left the EU on March 29, as planned, and so that he cannot support any further extension.

Earlier on Wednesday, Minister of Wales Nigel Adams resigned from the government after failing to agree with May’s latest Brexit strategy. “We must deliver the Brexit people voted for,” Adams said, criticizing May’s decision to start talks with main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to find a way forward in the Brexit impasse.

“And we must prevent the calamity of a Corbyn government,” he said in his resignation letter, criticizing May’s decision to hold talks with Corbyn.

Late Tuesday, May said after a seven-hour long cabinet meeting that she will start talks with Corbyn to seek a way forward to break the Brexit deadlock.

With the first extended Brexit deadline looming on April 12, May also said that the U.K. needs an additional short extension from the EU.

“So today I am taking action to break the logjam: I am offering to sit down with the Leader of the Opposition and to try to agree a plan — that we would both stick to — to ensure that we leave the EU and that we do so with a deal.” May said “we need to focus on… our future relationship with the EU.

“The ideal outcome of this process would be to agree an approach on a Future Relationship that delivers on the result of the Referendum, that both the Leader of the opposition and I could put to the House for approval, and which I could then take to next week’s European Council,” set for April 10.

May added that if “a single unified approach” cannot be reached, “then we would instead agree a number of options for the future relationship that we could put to the House in a series of votes to determine which course to pursue.”

EP to vote on post-Brexit visa-free visits for British: Amid continuing chaos over Brexit, with Britain’s prime minister seeking another delay on the exit date, the European Parliament is set to vote on a measure to allow British citizens visa-free travel.

The EP’s Committee on Civil Liberties proposed Wednesday that after Brexit, British citizens would be able to enter EU countries visa-free for short periods, “provided EU nationals enjoy the same conditions when travelling to the U.K.” said a committee statement.

The proposal faces a vote in the full EP on Thursday, and if passed, it will apply on the day following Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc.

From that date, British citizens will not be required to have a visa for stays in the EU of up to 90 days in any 180-day period, under the proposal. (AA)