Wednesday, 20 February, 2019


Theresa May to ask MPs for more time on Brexit

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH APBritain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street
Bennie Garza | 11 February, 2019, 18:27

Labour is proposing its own Brexit plan, which would involve the United Kingdom staying in a customs union with the EU, which they say could get the backing of a majority of MPs.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said Parliament would get to pass judgment on May's Brexit plan "no later than February 27".

"It's this blinkered approach that's got us to where we are, with her never wanting to see where the real majority is in parliament".

Labour's Brexit policy chief Keir Starmer told the Sunday Times newspaper that his party would seek to use the debate in parliament this week to prevent May from waiting until the last minute to come back with a deal, and compel her to present a fresh accord for lawmakers to consider before February 26.

Britain is due to leave the European Union on March 29, but Parliament has rejected May's divorce deal.

"We can't allow that to happen", Sir Keir said.

She has said she wants to bring a revised deal back to parliament for a vote "as soon as possible" but has not yet set a date for doing so.

Before the debate begins, lawmakers will have to agree to the proposed timetable for the debate - now just one day.

The impasse risks a chaotic "no deal" departure for Britain, which could be painful for businesses and ordinary people on both sides of the Channel.

Representatives from eight finance and insurance trade groups met on Tuesday with the Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen, who is working on the government's "global financial partnership" strategy that seeks to boost London's ties with financial trading hubs after Brexit.

A number of government ministers will also be meeting their counterparts across the continent this week, in order to underline Mrs May's determination to achieve a deal. She is expected to ask parliament to reaffirm its support for her plan to try and renegotiate the part of the deal relating to the future of the Ireland-Northern Ireland border.

Brexit minister Stephen Barclay will meet European Union negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday to discuss changes to the part of the exit deal relating to the "backstop", an insurance policy against the return of a hard border between European Union member Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland.

Deals with Australia and New Zealand have been signed, but they are mutual recognition agreements - meaning the two sides will replicate aspects of the existing arrangements with the European Union - rather than free trade deals. The backstop is the main obstacle to securing agreement on the terms of Britain's withdrawal from the EU.

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