Brexit: May to make plea to MPs for time to change deal

  • Brexit: May to make plea to MPs for time to change deal

Brexit: May to make plea to MPs for time to change deal

If no agreement on changes to the backstop are reached by Wednesday Mrs May is set to ask for more time for negotiations and will table a motion for debate.

Should the prime minster fail in her bid to secure concessions from the European Union before her speech, she plans to ask for more time and promise a vote on other Brexit options at the end of February, the Sunday Telegraph and other British media report.

Reaching a deal is "profoundly" in the interest of the U.K., Brokenshire told BBC Television's "Andrew Marr Show", but it is also important to give a sense of clarity and goal, which he believes May's new vote pledge will do.

But he confirmed a meaningful vote on whether to accept or reject a revised deal might not happen until March.

With a vote due on February 14, May will ask Parliament to reaffirm its desire to remove the contentious Irish backstop clause from the Withdrawal Agreement, according to an official, who asked not to be identified. It is that promise that led to this week's vote.

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.

There are also few signs of concessions coming May's way from Brussels in the coming days.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay is meeting European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will visit Paris and Warsaw for talks this week.

May will meet European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker again before the end of February "to take stock" of talks.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Sir Keir Starmer accused the prime minister of "pretending to make progress" over issues such as the Irish border.

MPs voted to replace the controversial backstop with "alternative arrangements" in a vote on amendments to the PM's Brexit deal last month.

May has been trying to win a legal assurance giving Britain the right eventually to drop the backstop and negotiate its own trade deals.