• Monday, Mar 01, 2021
  • Last Update : 04:48 pm

British PM seeks to reopen Brexit deal

  • Published at 09:58 pm January 29th, 2019
Theresa May
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street, as she faces a vote on her Brexit 'plan B', in London, Britain, January 29, 2019 Reuters

Brexit hardliners from May's Conservative Party are set against the deal due to the backstop

British Prime Minister Theresa May will seek to renegotiate the EU divorce deal, her spokesman said Tuesday, ahead of crunch votes in parliament that could reset the course for Brexit.

With exactly two months to go until Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union on March 29, May is going to attempt to change the agreement she herself negotiated - even though Brussels has insisted it will not re-open it.

"We have to have a deal which can carry the support of parliament and that's going to require some changes to the withdrawal agreement," May's spokesman said, as Downing Street tried to seize the initiative back from MPs.

The draft divorce deal was overwhelmingly rejected by lawmakers on January 15 and deeply divided MPs have been coming up with their own ideas to take a different path.

After May opens a day of debate, MPs are set to vote from 1900 GMT on measures that could include preventing a no-deal Brexit, delaying Brexit, changing the negotiated deal and even seizing control of the entire process.

May's spokesman said she backed a proposed measure that called for the removal of a controversial Irish border "backstop" arrangement written into the divorce deal.

Brexit hardliners from May's Conservative Party are set against the deal due to the backstop, which could see Britain indefinitely tied to EU trade rules in order to keep open the border with the Republic of Ireland.

The proposed measure put forward for Tuesday's votes calls for the backstop to be replaced with "alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border" on the island of Ireland.

The amendment would make clear that the Commons wishes to leave the EU with a deal, confirms the commitment to avoiding border checks and "gives us scope for a new discussion with the EU about how best we achieve that", said May's spokesman.

She told her cabinet that "to win the support of the House of Commons, legal changes to the backstop will be required", he said.

'Groundhog Day'

Confidence in London about being able to change the agreement is met with disbelief in Brussels.

Sabine Weyand, deputy to EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, said: "There's no negotiation between the EU and the UK. That negotiation is finished.

"It does feel like Groundhog Day."

She said Britain risked crashing out of the EU without a deal "by accident" because London cannot decide what it wants.

A source in French President Emmanuel Macron's office said Tuesday: "The withdrawal agreement and the backstop are not renegotiable."

And Ireland's Europe minister Helen McEntee called for "realism" from London as "there can be no change to the backstop."

No-deal risk

Tuesday's votes are the latest twist in the turmoil that the Brexit vote has unleashed in one of the world's top economies.

Increasing numbers of government ministers have warned they will not accept the prospect of Britain leaving without a deal on March 29, immediately severing all ties with its largest trading partner and threatening economic chaos.

British stocks jumped Tuesday and the pound was firmer ahead of the votes.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index was 1.3% higher in midday deals, while the pound held recently won ground versus the dollar.

One of the amendments which could be voted on Tuesday would open the door for the House of Commons to bring in legislation preventing Britain leaving the EU without a deal by forcing May to delay Brexit for nine months if her deal is not approved before February 26.

It would also give MPs the ability to extend the deadline indefinitely.

The main opposition Labour Party is throwing its weight behind the amendment.


51
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail