Saturday, 16 February, 2019

UK's May rejects pivot towards Brexit customs union compromise

DUP leader Arlene Foster DUP leader Arlene Foster
Kenny Thornton | 11 February, 2019, 09:24

Britain has reached an impasse in its last-minute renegotiation of an exit deal that it agreed with the European Union past year but that was overwhelmingly rejected by the British parliament in January.

May's housing minister James Brokenshire insisted Sunday that the government had a clear strategy and timeline aimed at getting an agreement that Britain's splintered parliament can pass.

After talks with Brussels this week Mrs May said that she was determined to deliver Brexit on time ahead of the March 29 deadline.

The opposition accuses May of wanting to force MPs to make an all-or-nothing vote between her deal and a chaotic Brexit shortly before Britain is set to leave the European Union on March 29.

And International Monetary Fund (IMF) boss Christine Lagarde said no arrangement Mrs May reached with Brussels would be as good for the economy as membership - and a no-deal Brexit would be "brutal".

The prime minister is due to update parliament this week on the progress of her latest talks with the EU.

Should the parliament give May more time on Thursday, it would mark the second extension since her Brexit deal was defeated by MPs in January.

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

French Yellow Vest Anti-Government Protests Turn Violent in Paris
About 4,000 marched in Paris, while demonstrations were held in other French cities, including Marseille, Toulouse, and Bordeaux. Several cars were set afire in Paris amid Yellow Vests demonstrations, according to local media.

She has said she wants to bring a revised deal back to parliament for a vote "as soon as possible" but has not yet set a date for doing so.

"You've got to decide which of those Brexits you want before we leave - otherwise, we're going to leave without clarity".

But it was rejected by the UK Parliament and if it is not approved by Brexit day, the default position would be a no-deal Brexit.

May will make a statement to parliament on February 13 updating lawmakers on her progress so far in seeking changes to her deal.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has written to the prime minister setting out his demands for a Brexit deal he could support, accused May of an "utterly cynical" approach.

A number of government ministers will also be meeting their counterparts across the continent this week, in order to underline Mrs May's determination to achieve a deal.

The UK's exit from the bloc may lead to a return of a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in potential violation of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which specifically stipulates that no physical border should exist between the two sides.

Critics of the backstop in Mrs May's current deal say they could tie the United Kingdom to European Union rules indefinitely or mean Northern Ireland ends up under a different system to the rest of the UK.

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