May seeks more time for Brexit talks

May seeks more time for Brexit talks

May seeks more time for Brexit talks

Today, Prime Minister Theresa May will ask Parliament for more time to negotiate changes to the "Irish backstop", which will keep the Irish border open regardless of the final Brexit deal.

Pro-Brexit demonstrators protest outside the Houses of Parliament, in Westminster, London, Britain, February 13, 2019.

The report has the potential to rip a hole in the British prime minister's delicate attempt to piece together enough political support for her deal to pass in a key vote in Parliament. Parliament last month rejected May's deal with the European Union, in part over a contentious plan to keep the border between the UK's Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland obstacle-free after Brexit.

"Both sides want a Brexit deal that supports ongoing friendship between UK/EU/France so patience and goodwill on backstop now the critical ingredient", he tweeted.

The statement was allegedly overheard by ITV news correspondent Angus Walker as Robbins spoke to colleagues at a hotel bar in Brussels on Monday.

He went on to ask "what went wrong?" concerning the "fiasco" of Seaborne Freight - a company that was picked to provide ferries to transport goods in the event of a no-deal Brexit but had its contract revoked.

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Unless Britain passes a deal or delays Brexit, it is due to crash out of the European Union with no agreement on March 29, an event many businesses say would wreck their supply chains.

But Mr Barclay insisted that it remained "the agreed position of the Cabinet" to work to secure a favourable deal but plan for the possibility of no-deal.

As we talked about late on Monday, there has been a sense building in Westminster that the prime minister is, maybe by accident, maybe increasingly by design, looking to nearly the last possible minute for the definitive Brexit vote.

It comes at a time when hard-Brexit supporters are already furious about comments from Oliver Robbins, the government's chief negotiator, suggesting No 10 intends to bounce them into support for May's deal by threatening a longer transition period as the only alternative.

"But if there is no deal by February 26, the government will make a statement to MPs on that day, and hold a debate on an amendable motion on February 27", said May.

Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party accused her of running down the clock with sham negotiations to pressure Parliament into backing her deal.

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The focus of numerous pro-Brexit lawmakers is the motion the government will put forward on Thursday, which some suggest takes a no deal scenario off the table.

May is pursuing three options in talks with Brussels: negotiating a way for Britain to leave the backstop without needing European Union agreement, agreeing a time limit to the backstop, or finding an alternative arrangement that replaces it altogether.

Prime Minister Theresa May gives a statement about progress on Brexit talks to MPs in the the House of Commons, London.

Laughing as he spoke, he said: "It is, in fact, the same protagonists for Brexit and a no-deal who do not have the courage either to put the issue to a peoples' vote". In the end they will probably just give us an extension... She also played down the importance of requesting an extension to the Article 50 negotiating process, telling MPs that this "would not solve the problem".

Barclay will now travel to Strasbourg with David Lidington, the de facto deputy prime minister, to meet senior European parliamentarians, including Guy Verhofstadt, the EU Parliament's Brexit co-ordinator.

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