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Britain UK Labour signals will vote against Brexit deal

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Britain's main opposition Labour party is likely to vote against the Brexit deal being negotiated by the government with the EU, a senior figure said Friday.

The British government hopes to reach a deal in mid-October or early November, ahead of Brexit in March 2019 play

The British government hopes to reach a deal in mid-October or early November, ahead of Brexit in March 2019

(AFP/File)

Britain's main opposition Labour party is likely to vote against the Brexit deal being negotiated by the government with the EU, a senior figure said Friday.

Emily Thornberry told the Financial Times that Prime Minister Theresa May's proposal for close economic ties with the bloc in some sectors was "nonsense".

"Even if they come back in October, November, and they say, 'this flimsy bit of paper is what you're going to have to agree to, otherwise there'll be no deal', we're not going to agree to either of those," she said.

Thornberry, Labour's spokeswoman on foreign affairs, noted that the party has put forward six tests for supporting a Brexit deal.

One of these is that it delivers the "exact same benefits" that Britain has as a member of the EU's single market and customs union.

The prime minister and the EU have both said this will not be possible, and commentators have long believed Labour will vote against the government.

But Thornberry's outspoken remarks raise the stakes for May, who is also facing a rebellion against her plan by Brexit supporters in her own Conservative party.

The prime minister hopes to reach a deal in mid-October or early November, ahead of Brexit in March 2019.

The agreement must then be approved by the House of Commons, where she has only a slim majority.

It is unclear what would happen if MPs reject the deal.

But legislation is already in place to implement Brexit, raising the possibility that Britain crashes out without any agreement on new terms with the EU.

May would also likely face a leadership challenge in her own party, although that would not automatically cause a new election.

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