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Barnier: UK has to move on Brexit

13 February 2019

On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May told the House of Commons she needed more time to salvage the European Union withdrawal agreement which was soundly rejected by members of Parliament last month.

"What the prime minister wants is a bit more time", she said.

May is to address British lawmakers on Tuesday, one day ahead of when she was expected to report back to MPs on the progress of the talks, and any alternative plans.

Mr Robbins suggested the strategy would be to tell the Commons in the final week of March that if an amended version of the government's deal wasn't passed, talks would have to be extended, potentially for a long time, ITV reported on Tuesday.

She will urge MPs to "hold our nerve" to get the changes to the Brexit deal.

That the United Kingdom and EU's leaders would be meeting just weeks before the United Kingdom is officially due to leave the European Union to "take stock" is a clear indication of the distance to travel before the Prime Minister will be able to get a deal agreed by all sides.

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May told ministers that parliament, which last month roundly rejected her Brexit deal, would not vote on a revised deal this week as she needed more time to negotiate with the EU.

On January 15, MPs voted it down by 432 votes to 202 in an historic defeat for the prime minister, brought about by opposition to the backstop from within May's own party.

Pro-Brexit MPs in May's Conservative Party are unhappy particularly with a so-called backstop provision meant to keep the border with Ireland free-flowing.

Pro-Brexit Tory MPs also pressed Ms.

Parliament is to hold a debate on Brexit on February 14, but with just 45 days until Britain leaves the bloc it is not expected to change the course of the exit process, and no date has been set for another vote to approve or reject May's deal.

She faced accusations that she's deliberately running down the clock in order to blackmail Parliament into backing her divorce package under the threat of a chaotic, no-deal split that could hit the pound by as much as 25 per cent.

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The measure, known as the backstop, is a safeguard that would keep the United Kingdom in a customs union with the EU and removes the need for checks along the border until a permanent new trading relationship is in place. "We must have our own, independent trade policy", May's spokesman said on Monday. But any such move would cost Mrs May the support of a big chunk of her Conservative Party.

"It is the only way of giving the House of Commons the time to produce a consensus about a positive way forward if the PM can not get her deal through by mid-March".

"We must agree a deal that this house can support and that is what I am working to achieve", she told the House of Commons. But earlier in the day the prime minister began clearing the path to rushing through a deal at a very late stage.

Polls conducted by Reuters since the June 2016 referendum decision to leave the European Union have consistently said a no-deal Brexit would be the worst outcome for the British economy.

But EU leaders insist the legally binding withdrawal agreement can't be changed.

Business leaders have argued that a no-deal Brexit would spell disaster for the UK's economy.

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There is however still a political impasse, said Martill, adding that while both parties were playing strategically, "it's quite unlikely to see where all the support for the withdrawal agreement is going to come from".

Barnier: UK has to move on Brexit