Economy

May still hopes for changes to Brexit deal

May still hopes for changes to Brexit deal

"It has been made clear to Downing Street that it would be eminently sensible to avoid that by proposing a motion that the party can support".

European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier repeated on Friday that the bloc could offer a legally binding statement confirming the backstop was only meant to be temporary. Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay accompanied the PM to the talks.

This could mean that pro-Brexit parties such as Ukip and Mr Farage's proposed new Brexit Party would have a higher degree of success than in a national election - particularly among frustrated Leave voters facing a Brexit delay.

In other diplomatic moves, an emergency meeting of Irish cabinet ministers was called for Monday night.

Irish premier Leo Varadkar, who was due to begin a journey to America for St Patrick's Day, returned from Dublin airport for the cabinet briefing.

Facing the deadlock, Health Minister Matt Hancock also warned that the country will face "total uncertainty" if lawmakers reject May's Brexit deal, adding that he did not think a defeat was inevitable.

Mrs May's efforts to secure new assurances appeared to have hit stalemate on Monday morning, as Mr Barnier said discussions were now taking place "between the Government in London and the Parliament in London", rather than the United Kingdom and Brussels.

Brussels worries that she would ask the House of Commons to vote on backstop solutions that have been rejected by the EU side, which would not make reaching an EU-UK agreement any easier.

"In the event of this vote on Tuesday not going through, nobody knows what would happen".

Standing in Westminster Abbey, she read a passage from Corinthians to commemorate Commonwealth Day. "And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it".

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Mr Walker confirmed the meaningful vote will take place on Tuesday, and said it was "incumbent" on MPs to take the opportunity to "deliver on the will of the British people and to provide certainty" by backing Mrs May's deal.

But even her most enthusiastic supporters, such as they are these days, don't pretend the prime minister and the government are home and dry.

The Prime Minister was looking to downgrade her promised meaningful vote to a provisional vote on whether they would back attempts for technical changes to the deal that attorney general Geoffrey Cox has been struggling to negotiate with Brussels, reported a number media channels, including the Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Independent and Sky News, citing governments sources.

Tory former minister Nick Boles said: "I am sure that the Prime Minister will honour these three commitments".

"If she doesn't she will forfeit the confidence of the House of Commons".

If the vote is rejected, there will be further votes on Wednesday and Thursday that could lead to Brexit being delayed.

The 27 national European Union leaders will discuss Brexit in Brussels on March 21 without May, and should not engage in direct negotiations with the British leader at the two-day summit, the ambassadors were also told.

European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the talks happening now were between British politicians, rather than between the United Kingdom and Brussels.

In response to the announcements, a DUP spokesperson said the changes will be examined before the party decides on how it will vote in the Commons on Tuesday.