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Brexit: Theresa May meeting EU leaders in bid to rescue deal

Theresa May is meeting European leaders and EU officials on Tuesday for talks aimed at rescuing her Brexit deal.

She is holding talks with Dutch PM Mark Rutte and Germany’s Angela Merkel after postponing a Commons vote on the deal.

The UK PM has said she needs “further assurances” about the Northern Ireland border plan to get backing from MPs.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU would not “renegotiate” the deal but there was room for “further clarifications”.

The prime minister is understood to be seeking legal guarantees that the UK will not be trapped in the Northern Ireland backstop plan indefinitely.

Critics object to the backstop – a temporary customs arrangement designed to prevent the need for checkpoints at the Irish border if a long-term solution that avoids them cannot be agreed – because it imposes different regulations in Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.

They also object to the fact that under the terms of the withdrawal agreement, the UK can not exit the backstop without the EU agreeing.

What is Theresa May asking for?

Commons leader Andrea Leadsom said Mrs May was seeking to give the UK Parliament a vote on whether to enter the backstop – and an annual vote on whether the country should remain in it.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this could be done in an “addendum” to the withdrawal agreement, without changing the main text of it.

Asked if this would be enough to satisfy critics of her deal, she said Mrs May was “absolutely determined to get a deal Parliament can vote for”.

 

source: BBC

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