A banner leans on a wall near parliament in London on Friday and appears to sum up the prevailing mood in Britain on the subject. AP
LONDON: Britain’s parliament could not be allowed to hijack Brexit, Trade Minister Liam Fox said yesterday, in a warning to lawmakers who want to take more control over Britain’s departure from the EU.

With just months to go before Britain is due to leave the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May will return to parliament today to set out how she plans to try break the Brexit deadlock after her deal was rejected last week.

Time is running out for Brexit, Britain’s biggest shift in foreign and trade policy in more than 40 years, but so far there is little that unites a divided parliament beyond its rejection of May’s deal that envisages close economic ties with the EU.

Britain’s main opposition Labour Party is pressing for a new election and for May to rule out the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, while others in parliament are lobbying for anything from a second referendum to leaving without an agreement.

Fox, a Brexit supporter, told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that May’s divorce agreement with the EU was still the best basis for a deal and warned lawmakers against trying to take more control of Britain’s departure.

“Parliament has not got the right to hijack the Brexit process because parliament said to the people of this country: ‘We make a contract with you, you will make the decision and we will honour it’,” he said.

“What we are now getting are some of those who were always absolutely opposed to the result of the referendum trying to hijack Brexit and, in effect, steal the result from the people.”

Britain voted with a 52% majority to leave the EU in a 2016 referendum that exposed deep divisions across the country - divisions that still split cities and towns, and the country’s parliament, almost three years on.

After seeing her deal rejected by more than 200 lawmakers last week, May has opened talks with other parties to try to break the deadlock.

But with Labour refusing to take part until May rules out leaving without a deal, some lawmakers fear those talks will change little and instead said they will launch attempts to force the government to change course.

With much of the focus now on Labour, its Brexit spokesperson Keir Starmer said there were now only two options that could find majority support. “Let’s reduce it to the options that are capable of getting a majority and that is a close economic relationship and a public vote.” Reuters