UK ministers think May’s Brexit plan is dead, seek alternatives – The Times

British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after a news conference following a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium December 14, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

LONDON (Reuters) – Most of British Prime Minister Theresa Mays senior ministers think her Brexit plan is dead and are discussing different options including a second referendum, The Times newspaper reported.

May, who said on Friday that she hoped to get further assurances about her plan from European Union leaders despite a fruitless trip to Brussels, was likely to be faced with opposing demands from ministers next week, the newspaper said.

One group of ministers, including Amber Rudd, the work and pensions minister, and finance minister Philip Hammond, was leaning reluctantly towards backing a second referendum if all other options are exhausted, it said.

Another group, including environment minister Michael Gove and interior minister Sajid Javid, was opposed to the idea of a second referendum, with Gove favouring a closer, Norway-style relationship with the EU after Brexit.

Other ministers including foreign minister Jeremy Hunt were willing to risk leaving the EU without a deal, the report said.

Mays plan, agreed with EU leaders last month, is opposed by many lawmakers in her own Conservative Party who fear it will leave Britain trapped in the blocs orbit. May has said rejection of her plan would risk Britain leaving the EU with no deal to smooth the economic shock or not leaving at all.

Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Sandra Maler

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