Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

'Brexit in peril' as PM May faces heavy defeat

EU Trying to 'Rerun Old Arguments' - UK Brexit Minister 'Brexit in peril' as PM May faces heavy defeat
Priscilla Morrison | 10 March, 2019, 21:36

Nigel Dodds, the Westminster leader of the DUP which props up Theresa May's minority government, and Tory MP Steve Baker also warned that a delay to UK's departure from the European Union would do "incalculable" damage to public trust in politics.

Facing the deadlock, Health Minister Matt Hancock also warned that the country will face "total uncertainty" if lawmakers reject May's Brexit deal, adding that he did not think a defeat was inevitable.

Mr Barnier said London would need to honour its commitment to keep the Irish border free of controls, potentially leaving Northern Ireland subject to European Union rules, with a "border" in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and the island of Britain.

"There is still hope, but I have to say I'm deeply disappointed with what we're hearing coming out of the EU", Leadsom told Reuters.

One EU diplomat said May was preparing the ground for "a blame game" if she loses the vote on Tuesday. The U.K. has put forward clear new proposals.

But despite the war of words, both sides say talks are continuing over the weekend, just days before May will face parliament once again after resoundingly losing the first vote in parliament on January 15.

At the heart of the House of Commons's opposition to the already-negotiated divorce deal is the so-called "backstop", a provision to keep the sensitive Irish border open after Brexit, which the eurosceptic wing of Mrs May's Conservative party fears could trap the United Kingdom in the EU's trading rules forever.

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But Barnier immediately appeared to rebuff the prime minister, by responding with an offer of reverting to his original plan, the Northern Ireland-only backstop, which May repeatedly said no prime minister could accept, because it risked creating a border in the Irish Sea.

Britain can not accept Michel Barnier's proposal to break the deadlock in the Brexit talks because it would risk the unity of the United Kingdom by treating Northern Ireland differently, the chairman of the ruling Conservative Party said.

With no changes to offer Parliament, Mrs May looks set to lose her second attempt to get approval of her deal and smooth Britain's exit from the European Union, the country's biggest shift in trade and foreign policy in more than 40 years.

The EU also offered to strengthen other provisions in the deal - on arbitration and good-faith clauses - but the United Kingdom side said it wasn't enough.

"We are hopeful, of course, that on Tuesday the parliament in Westminster will ratify a deal", Coveney said.

On Friday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said that if the UK decides to hold a second referendum, Brexit may never take place, thus the authorities would be letting the voters down.

The government has so far failed to secure changes to the divorce deal that could gain the backing of lawmakers, after they roundly rejected it in January.

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