British MPs urge PM Theresa May to renegotiate Brexit deal with EU

British MPs urge PM Theresa May to renegotiate Brexit deal with EU

The announcement comes as Parliament prepares to resume the Brexit debate Tuesday amid dire warnings from United Kingdom businesses of the potential negative effects of a "no deal" exit. French President Emmanuel Macron said the agreement - 585 pages of legally binding text - "is the best accord possible. It is not re-negotiable".

MPs will vote on Tuesday on a range of amendments to Mrs May's Brexit plans, including some which would block a no-deal departure and others which seek to salvage the PM's Withdrawal Agreement by changing the terms of the backstop to keep the Irish border open.

May said it was a chance to "tell Brussels that the current nature of the backstop is the key reason Parliament can not support this deal".

The Irish backstop aims to prevent the reintroduction of a hard border between Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland, a crucial part of a 1998 peace deal that ended decades of sectarian violence, and preserve frictionless trade.

Increasing numbers of government ministers have warned they will not accept the prospect of Britain leaving without a deal on Mar 29, immediately severing all ties with its largest trading partner and threatening economic chaos. May said her intention was to ask Brussels for more concessions on the Irish border backstop in a bid to secure backing of fellow Conservative lawmakers and their allies, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), who have been critical of the backstop.

He said she had told ministers the amendment "sets out in no uncertain terms our continued commitment to arrangements which avoid a hard border", and "gives us scope for a new discussion with the European Union about how best we achieve that".

The Institute for Government's Jill Rutter described it as "unnegotiable", based on ideas that had been rejected "time and again" by Brussels.

"There can be no change to the backstop", said Ireland's European Affairs Minister, Helen McEntee. It is potentially useful to the government if passed because it would show the European Union there is popular support in parliament for her attempt to renegotiate. Mrs May's approach drew praise from Brexit-backing politicians but prompted scorn from their pro-EU colleagues.

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However, the amendment - originally proposed by Tory loyalist Sir Graham Brady (below) - was dismissed as "too vague" by Conservative MPs in the hardline Brexit European Research Group, which is chaired by Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Another would let lawmakers vote on a set of alternate Brexit proposals to see which - if any - could muster majority support.

Weber said: "If there is now a unilateral attempt to reopen the agreement, the outcome will be that not just the backstop has to be renegotiated - then the Gibraltar question, the question of how much money Britain has to pay for exiting, the question of citizens' rights will have to be renegotiated".

May hopes that more MPs join them, under the joint pressures of time and of fear that their version of a flawless Brexit will be subverted by those who want no deal or no Brexit at all.

The main opposition Labour Party is throwing its weight behind the amendment. So what does the amendment mean for future Brexit negotiations?

This would give May "the mandate I need to negotiate in Brussels... a significant and legally binding change to the Withdrawal Agreement", she said.

Mr Boles told the Today programme the plan has "a great deal of support among ministers and indeed Cabinet ministers" and they were pressing for a free vote.

The House of Commons passed a motion from Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday, calling for 'alternative arrangements, 'on the Irish border issue but the European Union reiterated that it won't consider any amendments. "We have the vote tonight and then we will take it from there".

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