Published: Tue, January 22, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

British PM promises new European Union talks in bid to salvage Brexit deal

British PM promises new European Union talks in bid to salvage Brexit deal

However there were signs some Brexiteers could reluctantly back Mrs May's deal amid concerns a group of MPs are plotting to impose a "softer" Brexit - or derail it altogether.

She told MPs: "I will be talking further this week to colleagues - including in the DUP - to consider how we might meet our obligations to the people of Northern Ireland and Ireland in a way that can command the greatest possible support in the House".

Mr Corbyn branded her cross-party talks a "sham".

Mrs May sought to reassure MPs that they will be given "a proper say and fuller involvement" in establishing the UK's position in negotiations on future relations with the EU.

She refused to give into demands from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and others to take no deal off the table - arguing the only way of doing that was either agreeing a deal or cancelling Brexit all together.

EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has claimed that the UK-EU Withdrawal agreement is "the best possible deal", including the controversial Irish backstop, in an interview with Irish broadcaster RTE.

After she stood firm he branded it a "empty and hugely expensive" threat that was wasting billions of pounds of public money.

Shannon said he believed numerous 118 of May's own Conservative lawmakers who voted against her deal would also be willing to back it if the backstop had a time limit.

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"All three alternative plans", the analysis added "share many similarities with the arguments made for Brexit in 2016 when big promises were made with little regard for what could actually be delivered". "She's refusing to do so and I think she's hoping that Parliament will do this for her - that is not leadership".

One source went as far as to suggest Mrs May was considering trying to amend the Good Friday Agreement, according to the Daily Telegraph, but senior sources were quoted as saying the idea was a "non-starter". "My focus continues to be on what is needed to secure the support of this House in favour of a Brexit deal with the European Union".

Hilary Benn, a Labour lawmaker who chairs parliament's Brexit committee, said: "While her door may have been open, her mind has remained closed because she has rejected stopping us leaving the European Union with no deal, even though she knows it would be disastrous".

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson asked: "Can she confirm that in so doing she will now seek legally binding change to the text of that backstop and to the text of the Withdrawal Agreement itself?" He added that he did not want to become embroiled in any debate on the issue of the Irish backstop.

Poland's foreign minister Jacek Czaputowicz signalled a different approach from Warsaw, telling the Rzeczpospolita newspaper: "If Ireland asked the European Union to amend the agreement with the British on the backstop so that it would apply temporarily - let's say five years - the matter would be solved". For instance, "Yvette Cooper, chair of the home affairs select committee, is planning to put down a tightly worded amendment to give time for a bill which would give parliament the power to back an extension of article 50".

Lawmakers will debate and vote on the next steps on January 29, and before then they can put forward amendments to May's proposals.

Another more radical amendment drawn up by former attorney general Dominic Grieve would allow a motion by a minority of 300 MPs - from at least five parties and including 10 Tories - to be debated as the first item of Commons business the next day.

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