Published: Mon, February 11, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

May to promise new Brexit debate in push for more negotiating time

May to promise new Brexit debate in push for more negotiating time

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 29th but Parliament has rejected May's divorce deal, leaving the Prime Minister to seek changes from a resistant EU.

Housing minister James Brokenshire said on Sunday May would commit to giving parliament another debate on Brexit with the chance to vote on alternative options, if a deal had not yet been agreed and voted upon by then.

The EU and the Irish Government have insisted that the backstop is the best way of guaranteeing there will be no hard border in Ireland.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier will meet on Monday.

But there is no commitment to hold a binding vote on the deal itself by the end of the month.


He acknowledged that more work was needed to get the United Kingdom ready for Brexit on March 29, telling the BBC's Andrew Marr Show there are "still steps that are currently being put in place" but "there is steady work that is going on, 10,000 civil servants that are now focused on this" and the Border Force was "ramping up" its staff. But a member of May's cabinet pledged Sunday to give parliament a further ballot two weeks later - a measure meant to give the premier more time for talks with the EU.

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

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox arrives in Downing Street in London, Britain January 29, 2019.

The government says that "trading on these preferential terms", as opposed to sticking to the terms of the World Trade Organisation, "will deliver significant savings and help to safeguard British jobs".

Earlier today, Treasury Chief Secretary Liz Truss refused to rule out quitting if May shifted to a position of backing a customs union in order to get a deal through parliament.

May will ask lawmakers on Thursday to reaffirm that they support her bid to renegotiate the backstop, a government source said.

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