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Second Brexit referendum vote could happen, says Hammond

Second Brexit referendum vote could happen, says Hammond

Hammond also said time would be tight to hold a new referendum before October 31 when Britain is due to leave the European Union.

Mrs May said that if they could not agree a single unified approach, they would seek to agree a "small number" of options which they would put to the House for MPs to vote on.

After months of acrimonious, indecisive yet cliff-edged wrangling in Parliament over Brexit, U.K. lawmakers began a 10-day Easter break on Friday.

In particular, she wanted to explain to veterans of Europe's compromise-and-coalition politics that her move to open talks last week with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was a "significant undertaking" that held out a promise of finally securing a deal, if the European Union extended the Brexit deadline beyond Friday.

The longer Britain's withdrawal from the European Union is delayed, and the better the Brexit Party does, the more likely we are to see the emergence of a new alternative to the Conservatives.

May noted that talks between her party and the opposition Labour party are "serious, detailed and ongoing", adding that "there is actually more agreement" between the two sides on a post-Brexit plan.

In the Commons, the Prime Minister brushed off a call to resign from veteran Eurosceptic Sir Bill Cash who described her acceptance of the latest extension to the Article 50 withdrawal process as an "abject surrender".

She is blocked by a strong faction in her own Conservative Party that hates her withdrawal deal and hopes to oust her. She had requested a shorter extension until June 30.

"So I expect her to say when she's leaving in the next few days and then the announcement of a Conservative leadership contest", he said.

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"I think you know the answer to that", she replied.

The pressure on May is increasing, with hardline Brexit supporters criticising her for twice begging the European Union to delay Britain's departure and many mainstream Conservatives suggesting she has failed to build consensus. The former U.K. Independence Party leader said delays to Brexit were "a willful betrayal of the greatest democratic exercise in the history of this nation".

European Council president Donald Tusk did not rule out further extensions beyond October.

Theresa May has said the United Kingdom can still leave before 22 May, if a deal is agreed, to avoid having to take part in elections to the European Parliament.

The dragging out of Brexit comes after May declared that "Brexit means Brexit, and we're going to make a success of it" July 11, 2016, when she was leader of the Conservative Party.

The delay allowed traders to breathe a sigh of relief but observers noted the reprieve was only brief with the agreement merely kicking the can down the road. He said the government was trying to limit the economic fallout of that decision.

Mrs May told MPs on Thursday that cross-party talks were "not the normal way of British politics and it is uncomfortable for many in both government and opposition parties". "Bluntly, if we were only driven by economics, the British people would have chose to stay in the European Union".

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said the time had come for Britain to decide what it wants.

"We're prepared to discuss all of these things with them", he said.