United Kingdom says 'legally binding changes' to Brexit deal agreed with EU

Lloyd Doyle
March 13, 2019

The best way to get a Brexit deal through parliament is for the government to maintain that it would be willing to walk away from talks and leave the bloc without a deal, the deputy leader of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) said.

At a joint news conference, May and Juncker claimed to have succeeded. She survived a bid to oust her through a no-confidence vote in December.

May flew to Strasbourg late last night to continue negotiations with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, returning with the promise of further reassurances on the Irish backstop; but the legal instrument the Prime Minister delivered to MPs contained no new additions or amendments to the withdrawal agreement, which still makes no provision for the unilateral termination of the backstop.

"If the votes go this week in a way which means that the prime minister's policy as she has set out and stuck to rigidly over the course of the last two and a bit years is taken away, dismantled slowly by Parliament this week, I think it would be very hard for the prime minister to stay in office for very much longer", Morgan told the BBC.

It said it would only apply a small number of measures necessary to comply with worldwide legal obligations, protect the biosecurity of the island of Ireland, or to avoid the highest risks to Northern Ireland businesses - which will not require land border checks.

Juncker said he recommended the deal to the EU Council, which represents member states, and that Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar was prepared to back the changes on the backstop.

Lidington said the new guarantee "provides confirmation that the European Union can not try to trap the United Kingdom in the backstop indefinitely".

"The Government has been defeated again by an enormous majority and it must accept its deal is clearly dead and does not have the support of this House", he said.

The EU, meanwhile, is frustrated at what it sees as the inability of Britain's government to lay out a clear vision for Brexit - and because it is seeking changes to an agreement that May herself helped negotiate.

May s trip to Strasbourg caused concern among some MPs, who had complained they may not have enough time to scrutinise what May agreed before being asked to vote.


Juncker stressed at a late-night press conference on Monday that there would be no third chance if United Kingdom lawmakers voted against the tweaked deal on Tuesday.

The UK's labyrinthine crisis over European Union membership is approaching its finale with an extraordinary array of options including a delay, a last-minute deal, no-deal Brexit, a snap election or even another referendum.

German EU affairs minister Michael Roth, called it "a far-reaching compromise".

In the face of a cabinet revolt, she promised that if her deal is defeated again then MPs will vote on "no deal" on Wednesday and then on Thursday, on delaying Brexit.

It says the plan recognises the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland.

European Affairs Minister George Ciamba of Romania, which has the EU presidency, held out "hope this will be a game changer.but we shouldn't pre-judge the outcome of the vote in the Commons.a disorderly exit would be the worst scenario'".

Britain s main opposition Labour Party also came out against the agreement.

"The attorney general has confirmed that there have been no significant changes to the withdrawal agreement despite the legal documents that were agreed last night", Labour Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said.

Lidington spoke before May and Juncker emerged from their talks.

UK MPs again rejected Theresa May's Brexit Withdrawal Agreement by a huge majority on Tuesday evening (12 March), dealing a devastating blow to the embattled prime minister's credibility.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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