Saturday, 23 March, 2019

European Union united on need for border backstop, Leo Varadkar says

Britain's Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd has urged MPs to find consensus on Brexit. AFP Britain's Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd has urged MPs to find consensus on Brexit. AFP
Jeannette Daniel | 16 December, 2018, 04:13

Even though they are from rival political tribes, some opposition MPs may feel that backing the PM's deal is a pragmatic way forward to reduce the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit, a second referendum or no Brexit at all.

David Lidington, David Gauke, Amber Rudd, Philip Hammond and Greg Clark are understood to have stepped up discussions over whether to send the issue back to the public.

"When the dust has settled, the only way we're going to get this through the House of Commons.is to have a version of the deal that the government has negotiated", Hunt told BBC radio.

May pulled a vote on her deal on Monday after acknowledging it would be heavily defeated over concerns about the "backstop", an insurance policy created to avoid any hard land border for Ireland but which critics say could bind Britain to European Union rules indefinitely.

Current and former ministers are all in a race to replace Mrs May in the event of her deal collapsing in the Commons if she fails to secure better concessions from the EU.

Mr Juncker, who had one hand on Mrs May's arm, looked to be trying to calm her by denying making the jibe.

Labour and the SNP have both said the prime minister should stop wasting time and put the deal to a vote in Parliament.

Representing the whole EU meanwhile, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, said: "I have no mandate to organise any further negotiations - we have to exclude any kind of reopening our negotiations on the Withdrawal Agreement but of course we will stay here in Brussels and I am always at Prime Minister Theresa May's disposal".

Theresa May apparently berating European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker for suggesting that her message on Brexit was "nebulous".

More news: Remy Ma and Papoose Welcome Baby Girl

However, Government sources made it clear to the Press Association that there was unlikely to be a Commons vote on the Withdrawal Agreement next week.

However, the Labour leadership has made it clear it will only strike when it considers the Government to be at its most vulnerable.

"Because the damage to jobs, and employment, and growth will be very significant indeed. It means that food will not be on shelves".

A combative European Union summit left Mrs May insisting she was still on track to win assurances on the controversial Irish backstop proposals.

Theresa May privately warned Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel that the Brexit deal is dead unless they compromise, after European leaders rebuffed her requests for help selling the agreement to politicians in London.

He added: "We have to bring down the temperature".

The Cabinet minister said it is time to "abandon outrage and accusations" and "try something different".

She confirmed she had a "robust" discussion with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and insisted she had been "crystal clear" about the UK's need for firmer assurances that the backstop can not become permanent.

Mr Juncker said he had been able to convince her that his remarks had referred to the wider Brexit debate in the United Kingdom, joking: "After having checked what I said yesterday night, she was kissing me".

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