UK's Theresa May faces pressure to step down to save Brexit

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after addressing a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, March 22, 2019. Worn down by three years of indecision in London, EU leaders on Thursday were grudgingly leaning toward giving the U.K. more time to ease itself out of the bloc.

    British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after addressing a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, March 22, 2019. Worn down by three years of indecision in London, EU leaders on Thursday were grudgingly leaning toward giving the U.K. more time to ease itself out of the bloc. Associated Press

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after addressing a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, March 22, 2019. Worn down by three years of indecision in London, EU leaders on Thursday were grudgingly leaning toward giving the U.K. more time to ease itself out of the bloc.

    British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after addressing a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, March 22, 2019. Worn down by three years of indecision in London, EU leaders on Thursday were grudgingly leaning toward giving the U.K. more time to ease itself out of the bloc. Associated Press

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves at the end of an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, March 22, 2019. Worn down by three years of indecision in London, EU leaders on Thursday were grudgingly leaning toward giving the U.K. more time to ease itself out of the bloc.

    British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves at the end of an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, March 22, 2019. Worn down by three years of indecision in London, EU leaders on Thursday were grudgingly leaning toward giving the U.K. more time to ease itself out of the bloc. Associated Press

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after addressing a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, March 22, 2019. Worn down by three years of indecision in London, EU leaders on Thursday were grudgingly leaning toward giving the U.K. more time to ease itself out of the bloc.

    British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after addressing a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, March 22, 2019. Worn down by three years of indecision in London, EU leaders on Thursday were grudgingly leaning toward giving the U.K. more time to ease itself out of the bloc. Associated Press

  • An effigy of British Prime Minister Theresa May passes by Downing Street during a Peoples Vote anti-Brexit march in London, Saturday, March 23, 2019. Anti-Brexit protesters swarmed the streets of central London by the tens of thousands on Saturday, demanding that Britain's Conservative-led government hold a new referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union.

    An effigy of British Prime Minister Theresa May passes by Downing Street during a Peoples Vote anti-Brexit march in London, Saturday, March 23, 2019. Anti-Brexit protesters swarmed the streets of central London by the tens of thousands on Saturday, demanding that Britain's Conservative-led government hold a new referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union. Associated Press

  • An effigy of British Prime Minister Theresa May is wheeled through Trafalgar Square during a Peoples Vote anti-Brexit march in London, Saturday, March 23, 2019. The march, organized by the People's Vote campaign is calling for a final vote on any proposed Brexit deal. This week the EU has granted Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May a delay to the Brexit process.

    An effigy of British Prime Minister Theresa May is wheeled through Trafalgar Square during a Peoples Vote anti-Brexit march in London, Saturday, March 23, 2019. The march, organized by the People's Vote campaign is calling for a final vote on any proposed Brexit deal. This week the EU has granted Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May a delay to the Brexit process. Associated Press

  • Effigies of British Prime Minister Theresa May and Conservative politicians Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, from right, and displayed during a Peoples Vote anti-Brexit march in London, Saturday, March 23, 2019. Anti-Brexit protesters swarmed the streets of central London by the tens of thousands on Saturday, demanding that Britain's Conservative-led government hold a new referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union.

    Effigies of British Prime Minister Theresa May and Conservative politicians Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, from right, and displayed during a Peoples Vote anti-Brexit march in London, Saturday, March 23, 2019. Anti-Brexit protesters swarmed the streets of central London by the tens of thousands on Saturday, demanding that Britain's Conservative-led government hold a new referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union. Associated Press

 
 

LONDON -- Prime Minister Theresa May faces growing pressure from within her own party either to resign or to set a date for stepping down as a way to build support for her Brexit agreement with the European Union, British media reported Sunday.

Senior Conservative Party figures were urging May to recognize her weakened political position and leave the prime minister's post. However, there was no indication from Downing Street a resignation was near.

May thus far has been unable to generate enough support in Parliament for the withdrawal deal her government and the EU reached late last year. Lawmakers voted down the Brexit plan twice, and May has raised the possibility of bringing it back a third time if enough legislators appear willing to switch their votes.

The U.K.'s departure from the EU long was set to take place on March 29, but the absence of an approved divorce agreement prompted May last week to ask the leaders of the 27 remaining member nations for a postponement.

The leaders rejected May's request to extend the deadline until June 30. Instead, they agreed to delay Brexit until May 22, on the eve of EU Parliament elections, if the prime minister can persuade Parliament to endorse the twice-rejected agreement.

If she is unable to rally support for the withdrawal agreement, the European leaders said Britain only has until April 12 to choose between leaving the EU without a divorce deal and a radically new path, such as revoking the decision to leave the bloc or calling another voter referendum on Brexit.

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Parliament may take a series of votes this week to determine what proposals, if any, could command majority support.

Conservative Party legislator George Freeman tweeted Saturday night that the U.K. needs a new leader if the Brexit process is to move forward.

"I'm afraid it's all over for the PM. She's done her best. But across the country you can see the anger. Everyone feels betrayed," Freeman tweeted. "This can't go on. We need a new PM who can reach out & build some sort of coalition for a Plan B/"

Under Conservative Party rules, May cannot face a formal leadership challenge from within her own party until December because she survived one three months ago. But she may be persuaded that her position is untenable if Cabinet ministers and other senior party members desert her.

Her bid for fresh support for her withdrawal plan has so far failed to win backing from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which usually provides crucial votes for May's minority government.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

She also faces pressure from groups demanding a second Brexit referendum. Huge crowds turned out Saturday for an anti-Brexit protest march in London. Organizers claimed more than 1 million people attended.

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Follow AP's full coverage of Brexit at: https://www.apnews.com/Brexit

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