Theresa May Says She's "Armed With Fresh" Brexit Mandate

Daniel Fowler
February 4, 2019

Theresa May has said she is "determined" to deliver Brexit on time, ahead of talks on the Irish backstop.

Mr Coveney said while MPs had urged Mrs May to replace the backstop with an alternative arrangement, no one has succeeded in putting forward a "credible" second option.

Brussels and London find themselves at an impasse over the final agreement to the UK's exit from the European Union, with the most recent deal having failed in the British Parliament, as the deadline of March 29 looms.

"The EU will not renegotiate the withdrawal agreement and there will be no withdrawal agreement without the backstop", he wrote, adding that the backstop was required to "ensure the protection of the Good Friday Agreement".

British Prime Minister Theresa May has said that she continues to be "determined" to deliver Brexit on time as she is preparing to reopen the negotiations with the European Union regarding the issue of the Irish backstop.

"It's 100 per cent untrue", a Downing Street spokeswoman said about the article, which reported that May's advisors were considering a June 6 election under a scenario in which Brexit was delayed past March 29 but May subsequently won parliament's backing for a withdrawal deal in April.

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But prominent eurosceptic Conservative Steve Baker said many pro-Brexit lawmakers had broader concerns about her deal.

So far Brussels has insisted that its so-called backstop arrangement, aimed at ensuring there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, must stay as part of any deal.

If such an agreement could not be reached, then to avoid those checks and border posts or other infrastructure, the backstop would come into force.

The Tánaiste said walking away from the withdrawal agreement would have serious consequences, and a time-limited or unilateral exit mechanism would just extend the uncertainty for the people of Northern Ireland.

Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union on March 29, but United Kingdom politicians are divided over Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan. "That is what Parliament instructed me to do".

Reiterating his call for MPs to get behind the PM's deal, he said those in power have a duty to listen to "all voices in Northern Ireland" and reminded them of the "difficult - and sometimes tragic - road" the Irish and British governments had travelled to arrive at a solution which brought The Troubles to an end. The leaders are to discuss preparations for a no-deal Brexit in the event that the withdrawal agreement is not ratified.

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