Published: Wed, February 13, 2019
Economy | By

UK government downplays suggestion it will seek Brexit delay

UK government downplays suggestion it will seek Brexit delay

In a bid to garner support from the opposition Labour party, May stated that the government was ready to ask MPs to agree that United Kingdom laws on workers' rights, environmental protection and health and safety should continue to mirror European Union standards after Brexit. "She is playing for time and playing with people's jobs, our economic security and the future of our industry".

She promised to update Parliament at the end of the month but there is growing concern the talks will drag on into March and that the last chance to strike a deal will be at a two-day summit of European Union leaders starting on March 21, just eight days before the United Kingdom is slated to leave the bloc.

However, after failing to rally Northern Irish support last week, and with Brussels dismissing further negotiations, PM May is facing domestic criticism.

May went to Brussels last week in an attempt to secure changes to the so-called backstop arrangement created to avoid border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Parliament will have another chance to debate the issue by February 27 if no deal is reached, but a delay of the March 29 withdrawal remains most likely.

If a deal is agreed, MPs will have a second "meaningful vote", more than a month after Mrs May's deal was rejected in the first one.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the EU's negotiating team continue to insist that the EU will not reopen the Withdrawal Agreement agreed with May last November.

"This time that remains is extremely short", he added. An additional agreement was also signed that applies the provisions of the Swiss-UK trade deal to Liechtenstein as well.

"A deal is the way that we will actually address those concerns in parliament and ensure we give businesses the confidence they need", he said.

Media captionConfused by Brexit jargon?

May is set to update parliament on her latest meetings in Brussels and Dublin aimed at securing a divorce agreement with the European Union, with Britain due to leave the bloc on March 29.

According to ITV News, Mrs May's chief Brexit negotiator, Mr Oliver Robbins, provided some evidence that her plan is to push Parliament to make a choice with just a few days left before exit day.

The third and fourth spots flipped, with Britain leaving without an agreement and trading under basic World Trade Organization rules now in third place and Brexit being canceled last.

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.

Commons Leader Andrea said on BBC radio that May was not simply "running down the clock" until March 29.

She appeared to open up the possibility that MPs might in the end be asked to vote at a moment of peak jeopardy, and that ministers might be willing to let the matter run that long. Jeremy Corbyn in Prime Minister's Questions. "We must agree a deal that this House can support", said May.

In excerpts released before her statement, May says: "The talks are at a crucial stage".

"We are in danger of drifting into no deal by accident", she said.

As the deadline looms, Mrs May would then put her revised deal to Parliament in London to approve, forcing politicians to choose between an orderly divorce and a potentially chaotic no-deal Brexit that could hit the pound by as much as 25 per cent.

"We triggered Article 50 and that's what we are striving to do".

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