British Prime Minister Theresa May is bracing for another crucial day of voting, as she seeks backing from her MPs over the Northern Irish backstop in her Brexit deal with Brussels. It seems May is sending the EU a message geared towards alternative arrangements.
May told politicians that there would be another significant vote on her deal in 13 February.
In a private meeting at parliament, May addressed her MPs, seeking to mend divisions and show a united party to Brussels, according to Conservative Party Chairman Brandon Lewis.
Tuesday looms as the day that could shape the direction of Brexit
Following the overwhelming rejection of May’s Brexit proposal earlier in the month, MPs will now meet on Tuesday to debate and vote on her next steps, as well as offer amendments that aim to shape the upcoming direction of Brexit.
Many Pro-Brexit MPs are against the backstop, seeing it as nothing more than an insurance policy intended to prevent a hard border in Ireland, resulting in EU rules remaining in British-ruled Northern Ireland — if no agreements are made.
According to Lewis, May urged conservative MPs on Monday to vote in favour of an amendment, calling for the backstop to be replaced with ‘alternative arrangements’, which was put forth by senior Conservative MP Sir Graham Brady.
Sir Graham said his amendment would give ‘enormous firepower’ to Theresa May upon her return to Brussels, as it would lay out policies the UK Parliament would support.
‘It allows the PM to give a very clear message about what the parliament wants and where the party is,’ Lewis said.
EU terminates plans to negotiate backstop alternative
The European Union dismissed plans to renegotiate the principle behind the backstop, as reported by AP.
The EU’s deputy chief negotiator Sabine Weyan said they were ‘open to alternative arrangements’ on the Irish border, but that Brady’s proposal did not make clear on what arrangements they were.
If voters are in favour of the amendments after they’re put to vote on Tuesday, then it demonstrates to the EU that changes to the backstop could be enough to get May’s parliamentary approval for a deal.
Cheers of support and banging of desks could be heard by reporters outside May’s address. Yet, according to AP, the head of an influential eurosceptic conservative faction said his group would not accept the amendment.
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