Brexit vote: May and Varadkar to hold talks

Theresa May wins approval to renegotiate Irish border agreement

Theresa May wins approval to renegotiate Irish border agreement

Speaking at a debate on the crisis for European lawmakers, the EU Commission president reiterated the EU position that the withdrawal agreement already signed a year ago with Prime Minister Theresa May cannot be re-negotiated. A similar amendment, Amendment B, presented by Labour's Yvette Cooper, sought to delay Brexit until the end of 2019, and was also defeated. Before the previous vote, parliament held five days of debate but it is not clear whether there would be another lengthy debate before any subsequent vote.

Mrs May is due to report back to Parliament on her negotiations with the European Union on February 13, with a further series of votes by MPs expected the following day.

Numerous amendments did not pass, including one that would have allowed for a second referendum. It is only advisory and has no legislative force.

Mrs May hailed her new "mandate" to negotiate a new Irish border backstop with the European Union after emerging victorious in a series of crunch votes on Tuesday.

On Tuesday Tusk said the divorce deal was not up for renegotiation.

Prime Minister May commented on the vote by saying it gave her a "mandate" to "seek to obtain legally binding changes to the withdrawal agreement", while admitting that the European Union has a "limited appetite" for renegotiation.

"It won't be easy", said May.

Tusk made clear that it is up to the United Kingdom to come up with solutions, not the EU.

The vote's results have received a mixed reaction within the UK.

"Saying you're against the backstop is like saying you're against bad weather".

"I hope that our friends in Brussels will listen and that they will make that change", he said.

Theresa May wins approval to renegotiate Irish border agreement

The Green MP Caroline Lucas accused the Prime Minister of chasing "heated up fantasies that have already been rejected by the EU".

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that Theresa May's decision to seek changes to the Brexit deal "only reinforces" the need for a backstop.

European Union leader Jean-Claude Juncker warned Wednesday (Jan 30) that the British parliament's decision to demand changes to the Brexit withdrawal deal had increased the risk of a messy "no deal" divorce. Dubbed the "Malthouse Compromise" after Kit Malthouse, the minister who brought the parties together, the plan would extend the transition period from the end of 2020 and into December 2021 as part of an attempt to remove the need for the backstop.

French President Emmanuel Macron echoed Tusk's position, saying that the existing agreement's text, "is the best accord possible".

But so far she has been met with a wall of rejection from the bloc's leaders, who insist the Withdrawal Agreement can not be reopened. This agreement can not be renegotiated. "The EU has been clear on this point", the president's office said in a statement.

He later said the European Union is preparing for all possible scenarios, and that it will remain calm, united, and determined.

"If this is about keeping a party together that for 30 years has been torn about by different perspectives on the relationship with the European Union. if that's what this is about, I can not allow that agenda to make Ireland the casualty", Mr Coveney said.

An attempt by Labour lawmaker Yvette Cooper and Conservative Nick Boles to give parliament the power to request a delay to Britain's March 29 exit was defeated by lawmakers on Tuesday, but Boles said he would renew that effort on February 14 if a deal has not been passed by then.

The EU says Britain would have to organise European Parliament elections on its soil if it were to delay Brexit beyond that as otherwise its people would be deprived of their democratic representation while still being in the EU.

Juncker told European parliamentarians in Brussels "the withdrawal agreement remains the best and only deal possible".

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