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Minister warns against Brexit compromises which dilute backstop

Minister warns against Brexit compromises which dilute backstop”

May hopes that more MPs join them, under the joint pressures of time and of fear that their version of a flawless Brexit will be subverted by those who want no deal or no Brexit at all.

Tory grandee Sir Graham said he hoped House of Commons backing would give Mrs May "enormous firepower" when she returns to Brussels to seek concessions on her Brexit deal.

Despite the manoeuvring in Westminster, in Brussels the European Union, officially at least, remained resolute that the Withdrawal Agreement would not be reopened.

One of the amendments which could be voted on on Tuesday would open the door for the House of Commons to bring in legislation preventing Britain leaving the European Union without a deal by forcing May to delay Brexit for nine months if her deal is not approved before Feb 26.

It would force May to delay Brexit for nine months if her deal is not approved before February 26, and give lawmakers the ability to indefinitely extend the deadline. This is the latest in a series of warnings over the potential impacts a "no-deal" would bring to the food and drink industry which is enormously susceptible to the trading challenges that a Hard Brexit presents.

Labour MP Hilary Benn has one amendment explicitly demanding indicative votes on Brexit options, including Norway Plus, a Second referendum, a "managed" no-deal, or a Labour Brexit.

Another would let lawmakers vote on a set of alternate Brexit proposals to see which - if any - could muster majority support.

"I hope that our friends in Brussels will listen and that they will make that change", he said.

Amid the bitter wrangling Queen Elizabeth II appeared to make a rare foray into politics last week, emphasising in a speech the need for Britons to come together to "seek out the common ground".

Sinn Féin has said there is no room to change any aspect of the backstop in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and that Irish politicians would not be to blame in the event of a hard border in Ireland resulting from a "no deal" Brexit.

The International Trade Secretary Liam Fox urged Tory MPs to support May.

May insists her agreement can still win Parliament's backing if it is tweaked to alleviate concerns about a contentious provision over the Irish border.

Meanwhile EU negotiator Sabine Weyand warned that the risk of a no-deal was now "very high". The plan aims to prevent the catastrophic scenario of crashing out of the bloc without a deal, but critics see as an attempt to thwart Brexit.

"Members of the House of Commons have taken away the main negotiating card", he said.

European Council President Donald Tusk said the EU-UK divorce deal was not up for renegotiation after Britain's parliament on Tuesday voted to replace the Irish "backstop" border arrangement contained in it with unspecified "alternative arrangements".

Seeking to break Britain's Brexit deadlock, Prime Minister Theresa May said she plans to ask the European Union to change its divorce deal with the United Kingdom by altering an Irish border guarantee that is opposed by many British lawmakers.

Despite celebrations in Brussels, Mrs May had a positive night in the Commons after MPs widely supported Graham Brady's amendment that hands the Government a mandate to renegotiate the Irish backstop. "There is no majority to re-open or dilute the Withdrawal Agreement in the European Parliament, including the backstop".

"We have to have a deal which can carry the support of parliament and that's going to require some changes to the withdrawal agreement", May's spokesman said, as Downing Street tried to seize the initiative back from MPs.



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