(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Theresa May is still fighting to get her twice-rejected Brexit deal through the British Parliament. Her deputy said on Friday that if she fails, the U.K. risks being forced to extend its membership by over a year.

Key Developments:

  • EU is signaling that if there’s no deal, a delay could last more than a year, May’s deputy says
  • A rare win in parliament last night keeps May’s Brexit plan in play
  • Focus is now on winning over Northern Irish members of Parliament and hardline Brexit backers

Brexiteers Don’t See Irish Backstop Escape Route (9 a.m.)

Pro-Brexit Conservatives said they don’t see the Vienna Convention as a viable escape route from so-called Irish backstop -- the bit of May’s deal they hate most.

Since the deal was defeated for a second time on Tuesday, May’s team has been in talks with Tory rebels and Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party on what extra legal reassurances could be provided to persuade them to back the deal in a third vote.

Efforts have focused on Article 62 of the Vienna Convention on international treaties, spelling out how countries can unilaterally leaving an agreement.

But the Brexiteer’s panel of legal experts, led by the Tory MP Bill Cash, issued its verdict on Friday, saying Attorney General Geoffrey Cox’s understanding of Article 62 is “clearly erroneous.”

“Given the high burden that a state must meet to use it, and given the extreme reluctance of international courts and tribunals to accept it," the lawyers wrote, it "supplies no assurance whatsoever that the U.K. could terminate the Withdrawal Agreement in a lawful manner.’’

EU Signals a Delay Could Be Over a Year (8:50 a.m.)

The European Union has indicated that if Parliament doesn’t pass May’s Brexit deal this month, it could force the U.K. into an extension of more than a year, according to the prime minister’s de facto deputy, David Lidington

Asked on BBC radio if a long delay could be many months, or over a year, Lidington said: "Those are the indications" from EU institutions and some member states.

He urged MPs to back the deal, which is expected to come back for a third vote next week.

"The great virtue of the deal on the table is that it has been agreed not just by the British government, it’s been agreed by all the 27 other governments around the EU," he said. "For that reason I hope that MPs of all parties will be this weekend just reflecting on the way forward."


May Wins Some Time for a Final Push on Her Rejected Brexit Deal

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Emma Ross-Thomas at erossthomas@bloomberg.net;Heather Harris at hharris5@bloomberg.net

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