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No renegotiation on Brexit deal — European Union leaders

03 February, 2019, 20:57 | Author: Lawrence Cooper
  • EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO SALES. NO ALTERING OR MANIPULATING. MANDATORY CREDIT UK Parliament  Jessica Taylor UK Parliament handout

Members of Parliament narrowly voted through two significant amendments to the Brexit plan: one says there should be no "no deal" Brexit, while the other demands the removal of the contentious "Irish backstop" from the withdrawal agreement struck between Prime Minister Theresa May and her European counterparts. That backstop plan was an "insurance policy", meant to confirm that there will be no return to a visible border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after Britain leaves the EU.

The Irish Taoiseach will meet with European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk for crisis talks to discuss "intensifying" preparations for no deal.

MPs and activists who support the People's Vote campaign for a new referendum were deflated this week after MPs rejected amendments created to delay Brexit and allow discussions of alternatives to Theresa May's deal.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay gave a guarantee to MPs the vote would be held next week, while a government source revealed the parliamentary showdown will come on 15 January.

The EU were unanimously opposed to a time limit in the backstop, or a time limit on it.

"She (May) is taking a risky task going back to Brussels to renegotiate", said Joseph Trevisani, a senior analyst at FX Street in NY.

"On the 14th we'll probably end up with either with a prime minister's statement with a letter of assurance from the European Union or a question of what is Parliament going to do in response to yet more impasse", they said.

In a speech to members of her party in Kesh, County Fermanagh today, Mrs Foster warned the European Union are "tough negotiators" but they must now take a "pragmatic approach" to avoid no deal. The EU would have to significantly change their stance on reopening the Withdrawal Agreement if legally binding changes are to be made on the backstop.

The 11th-hour uncertainty leaves Britain's investors and allies trying to gauge whether the crisis will end up in a deal, a chaotic "no-deal" Brexit on March 29, a delay, or no Brexit at all.

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"I suspect we will still be in a position where the antidote to the government's impasse on the 14th will be a more structured period of time for the Commons to make decisions".

He added: "The last words I said to her were "don't bring no deal back to Parliament" because it's not acceptable - it's not a sensible or serious way of going forward".

After MPs gave their backing to proposals to replace the controversial Irish backstop in the Prime Minister's withdrawal deal, here's a look at what could happen next in the Brexit saga.

News reports on the weekend suggested the EU would be willing to renegotiate the backstop if the United Kingdom would stay in the EU's customs union - an option that would leave the United Kingdom unable to strike its own trade deals, and one May has repeatedly rejected.

The pound steadied yesterday, to recover to be up 0.25pc at $1.3101, suggesting investors remained hopeful that a chaotic Brexit could still be avoided even though Brussels indicated just after the vote and yesterday that the divorce deal is not up for renegotiation.

This week we learned that support in the House of Commons for remaining in the European Union is weaker than initially thought: MPs voted down an amendment to request an extension to the Brexit deadline should a deal not be agreed soon.

"Clearly, there has to be investment in those communities, but the Brexit plan proposed by Theresa May doesn't solve that any more than the Government's austerity programme is going to solve any of that".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused the government of running down the clock on Brexit.

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