British MPs back bid to reopen negotiations with EU on Irish backstop

Minnie Murray
January 30, 2019

And it's not clear that ardent Brexiteers in her own party are prepared to follow her plan either.

Urging MPs to "give me the mandate I need" to return to Brussels and demand that the withdrawal agreement be re-negotiated, she said: "The time has come for words to be matched by deeds...if you want Brexit you have to vote for Brexit".

"If we leave without a deal we are going to be less safe", she told BBC Radio 4's World At One.

"If the prime minister indicates in the debate that she will be pressing Brussels to reopen the WA [Withdrawal Agreement] to make changes to the backstop, I will gladly support the Brady amendment", former foreign secretary and prominent Brexit supporter Boris Johnson said on Twitter.

Conservatives from rival wings of the party proposed a compromise Tuesday that calls for Britain to seek a "new backstop" and an extended transition period of nearly three years after March 29 so that Britain and the European Union can work out a permanent new trade deal.

"She said a vote of the Brady amendment makes it clear that the current nature of the backstop is the key reason that the House can not support the deal", the spokesman added.

He was questioned about how this strategy might work, given how often the European Union has said it will not reopen the Brexit agreement.

Yvette Cooper, a prominent lawmaker from the main opposition Labour Party, has placed an amendment that attempts to reduce the chance that Britain could leave the European Union without an agreement on future relations by compelling Prime Minister Theresa May to ask the bloc for more time if she fails to secure a deal by February 26.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday said the Brexit deal was "not renegotiable".

Weyand said the ratification of the EU-UK deal would build the trust necessary to build a new relationship, but ruled out bowing to British calls to set a time limit to the backstop beyond which the insurance policy would lapse.

Labour Party MP Stella Creasy's amendment would postpone Britain's departure from the European Union and create a 250-member "citizen's assembly" to make recommendations on the Brexit process.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, however, insisted that backing the amendment would strengthen the Prime Minister's hand when it came to reopening negotiations on the backstop - meant to ensure there is no return of a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Ireland and Britain say they have no plan to impose customs controls that would be an immediate target for militants. Ireland has said it doesn't want any changes to the backstop.

Labour MP Chuka Umunna, who has pushed for a second referendum, told Sky News that the torpedoing of the Cooper amendment, and another similar amendment, represented "a bad day for Parliament".

In an effort to appease those Tories who are proposing to back Boles and Cooper's plan to delay Brexit, May promised they would have another chance to vote to stop Britain leaving the bloc without a deal, according to people in the room Monday.

Lawmakers threw out her Brexit deal two weeks ago and will debate and vote Tuesday on competing plans for what to do next about Britain's impending departure from the bloc.

The industry says that "this complex, "just in time" supply chain will be significantly disrupted in the event of no deal", and that there will be pressure on food prices from higher transport costs, currency devaluation and tariffs.

Despite a last minute gamble aimed at buying off rebels in her Conservative Party, the prime minister will face a knife-edge battle to block a proposal that would hand the parliament the power to delay the process and prevent a no-deal divorce.

One of the most hotly anticipated amendments voted on tonight, Yvette Cooper's amendment has been defeated 321 to 298.

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