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After EU poll disaster, Britain's main parties brace for no-deal Brexit battle

Credit: Reuters - Business (Amazon FireT
Published on May 28, 2019 - Duration: 02:04s

After EU poll disaster, Britain's main parties brace for no-deal Brexit battle

Britain's two main parties set the stage Monday for a battle over a no-deal Brexit, hoping to win back voters who abandoned them for a new movement led by euroskeptic Nigel Farage and other smaller parties in European elections.

Mia Womersley reports

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After EU poll disaster, Britain's main parties brace for no-deal Brexit battle

Britain is bracing for a battle over a no-deal Brexit.

The UK's two main parties are desperately hoping to win voters back after thousands abandoned them in European elections.

A punishing night for the Conservative and Labour parties on Sunday (May 26) saw acrimonious divisions over Britain's departure from the European Union become ever clearer.

Those Tories hoping to replace Prime Minister Theresa May - who resigned on Friday (May 24) - said the results were a demand to deliver Brexit no matter what.

Taking a different tack, the opposition Labour Party said a public vote - either with a new national election or a second referendum - was the way to reunite the country.

But with Nigel Farage's Brexit Party, which firmly backs no deal, capturing the greatest number of votes for seats in the European Parliament, And a group of fervently pro-EU parties hot on its heels, Conservatives and Labour are under serious pressure to commit clearly to either side of the debate.

Farage's Brexit Party came out on top in Sunday's European vote with 31.6% of the vote.

The 55-year-old says he wanted to be included in any new negotiation to leave the EU.

But while the Brexit Party came top, three staunchly pro-EU parties - the Liberal Democrats, Greens and Change UK - combined for 35.8%.

Almost three years since Britain voted narrowly to leave the EU, lawmakers remain at loggerheads over how, when or even whether the country will quit the club it joined in 1973.

Many of the Conservative prime ministerial hopefuls see the European vote outcome as proof they must seek a cleaner break with the EU.

Several even say they would leave without a deal - a move some regard as foolhardy.

For Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, pressure is mounting to embrace a second referendum without qualification - something he has said would be needed to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

What is clear from a vote which many used as a protest is that Brexit risks shattering the election prospects of both the main parties.

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