British lawmakers were voting Thursday on whether to scuttle the already dwindling chances the U.K. will leave the European Union this month as scheduled, but EU officials warned they would only allow a delay if the country made a fundamental shift in its approach to Brexit.
Prime Minister Theresa May grudgingly granted the vote after Parliament twice rejected her EU divorce deal and also ruled out leaving the EU without an agreement. Withdrawing from the EU without a deal could mean major disruptions for businesses and people in the U.K. and the 27 remaining countries.
The vote in Parliament was on whether to seek a delay of at least three months to Brexit, which currently is due to take place March 29.
The legislative defeats have shredded May’s authority and obliterated her control of a fractious Conservative minority government. On Wednesday, a dozen government ministers abstained rather than support May’s bid to keep a no-deal Brexit as an option, while another voted against, and resigned.
Despite the rebuffs and the political chaos, May has signaled she will try a third time to get backing for the agreement next week.
She is proposing that Brexit be delayed until June 30 — but only if she Parliament approves her Brexit deal. She has has warned Brexit supporters who oppose her deal that if no withdrawal agreement is passed in the coming days, the only option will be to seek a long extension that could mean Brexit never happens.