Published: Sun, February 10, 2019

May to appeal for more time to secure backstop changes

May to appeal for more time to secure backstop changes

The British government sought to win more time Sunday to secure European Union concessions that could pass parliament and avert a chaotic split from the bloc on March 29.

If she hasn't brought a new deal to Parliament by February 27, she'll say there will then be another opportunity to vote, Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said in a BBC interview.

But Downing Street aims to reassure them by promising another vote where they can put forward alternative options, if a new deal has not been struck by 27 February.

With a vote due on February 14, May will ask Parliament to reaffirm its desire to remove the contentious Irish backstop clause from the Withdrawal Agreement, according to an official, who asked not to be identified.

"That gives that sense of timetable, clarity, and objective on what we're doing with the European Union - taking that work forward and our determination to get a deal - but equally knowing that role that parliament very firmly has", Brokenshire told the BBC.

Should the parliament give May more time on Thursday, it would mark the second extension since her Brexit deal was defeated by MPs in January. It is that promise that led to this week's vote.


The opposition Labour party has denounced May's strategy as time wasting aimed at forcing parliament to vote through a deal at the last moment.

She told Sky News' Sophy Ridge On Sunday: "I appreciate Jeremy Corbyn has come to the table but the reality is what he is proposing does not deliver on what we want as a country". Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay is set to head to Brussels on Monday for talks.

The British premier is set to meet European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker again before the end of the month.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Sir Keir Starmer accused the prime minister of "pretending to make progress" over issues such as the Irish border.

May's Northern Irish coalition party also argue that it will splinter their province from mainland Britain.

May has been trying to win a legal assurance giving Britain the right eventually to drop the backstop and negotiate its own trade deals.

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