May makes last-ditch bid to win over lawmakers

LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May promised on Monday to be more open with parliament in negotiating the future relationship with the European Union and to ease the concerns of lawmakers over the divorce deal to win their agreement.
Highlighting three changes to her Brexit approach, May told parliament she would be “more flexible”, implement a demand from opposition Labour on guaranteeing workers’ rights and would find a way to calm nerves over a commitment to no return to a hard border on the island of Ireland.
“In doing so we will honour the mandate of the British people and leave the European Union in a way which benefits every part of our United Kingdom and every citizen of our country,” she said.
May also condemned a car bomb attack in Northern Ireland’s Londonderry that has highlighted the threat posed by militant groups in the province.
Four men have been arrested over a car bomb attack on Saturday outside the city’s courthouse. On Monday, Northern Ireland police cordoned off two areas in Londonderry to examine two separate hijacked vehicles for potential security threats.
“I’m sure that the whole House will join me in condemning Saturday’s car bomb attack in Londonderry, and paying tribute to the bravery of the Northern Ireland police and the local community,” she said in parliament.
“This House stands together with the people of Northern Ireland in ensuring that we never go back to the violence and terror of the past.”
The leader who triggered the vote that began Britain’s chaotic divorce from the European Union said he never expected the referendum to go ahead as he did not foresee winning the 2015 election outright, European Council President Donald Tusk has said.
Former prime minister David Cameron first pledged a referendum in 2013 while governing in coalition with the pro-EU Liberal Democrats in a bid to placate his party’s eurosceptic wing and fend off support for the anti-EU UK Independence Party.
Cameron’s Conservatives unexpectedly won a majority in the 2015 national election, Britain voted by 52 to 48 per cent to leave in the 2016 referendum, and he went on to quit after leading the unsuccessful campaign to remain in the bloc.
“I asked David Cameron, ‘Why did you decide on this referendum, this – it’s so dangerous, so even stupid, you know,’ and, he told me … that the only reason was his own party,” Tusk told the BBC’s “Inside Europe: Ten Years of Turmoil” programme, due to be aired later this month.
“(He told me) he felt really safe, because he thought at the same time that there’s no risk of a referendum because his coalition partner the Liberals would block this idea of a referendum.
“But then, surprisingly, he won and there was no coalition partner. So paradoxically David Cameron became the real victim of his own victory,” Tusk added, describing the referendum as “the biggest mistake” of Cameron’s life.
However, Cameron’s former spokesman Craig Oliver said Tusk’s comments were “completely wrong”.
“David Cameron spent the whole of the 2015 election campaign making clear he would not lead any form of government that didn’t have a referendum,” Oliver wrote on Twitter.
“The coalition as ‘excuse to bail’ is a myth.” — Reuters