UK’s May offers amendments to Brexit deal as internal negotiations continue

UPDATE — 1/30, 12:31 p.m. EST: U.K.’s Parliament approved two virtually contradictory measures regarding Brexit Tuesday, giving negotiators the authority to propose new terms for an Irish border policy, as well as ruling out the possibility of a “no deal” exit from the EU.

Prime Minister May said if a new Brexit deal with the EU is not made by Feb. 13, Parliament will vote again to determine what steps will be taken to resolve negotiations.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker vowed Wednesday not to let the U.K. renegotiate terms of the original Brexit agreement made between the EU and May’s negotiators. 

 

One week after British Parliament voted down Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal to extract the U.K. from the European Union (EU), May has vowed a “flexible, open and inclusive” debate involving Members of Parliament (MP) and both the Scottish and Welsh governments over new terms of a proposal.

On Tuesday, Jan. 15, MPs overwhelmingly rejected May’s plan to leave the European economic bloc by 230 votes.

Seeking to amend last week’s failed motion, May has eliminated a £65 fee EU residents living in the U.K. would have been required to pay to maintain residence there.

Additionally, May is striving to find a solution to the nagging issue of the so-called “backstop,” a hurdle which has divided Tories and threatens to injure the relationship with May’s coalition partner, the Democratic Unionist Party.

Essentially a safety net, the border shared by Ireland and Northern Ireland would require the return of custom and inspection posts for goods traveling over the Irish boundary.  The EU insists on some form of custom checks to avoid threatening its single market.

As current member states of the EU, no stops exist on the border separating the two countries.

A critical point in negotiations, May has told MPs she will extract further concessions from the EU to push a Brexit deal through the House of Commons.  Although May has assured MPs she will create a deal favorable to all parties, The EU has hinted it will not begin negotiations with the U.K. until the House of Commons approves a Brexit bill.

Now at a standstill, May has resisted intense pressure from pro-Brexit MPs to simply depart the EU without a deal over MPs fear the U.K.’s departure from the EU without a negotiated exit will result in a hard border with Ireland.

May has similarly rejected the notion of a second referendum, telling MPs her duty is to act on the first.

For his part, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has insisted the final Brexit deal include a permanent customs union and the alternative of a second Brexit referendum.

Labour, too, has tabled amendments for Parliament to consider.  Labour MPs Rachel Reeves and Yvette Cooper have introduced amendments prohibiting the U.K. from leaving the EU without a deal and extending the March 29 Brexit deadline.

The House of Commons is expected to vote on Ms. May’s new motion next week.

 

[BBC] [Reuters] [AP] [Photo courtesy Getty Images via New Statesman]

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