European Union to rule out Brexit renegotiation should Brady amendment pass

Emergency Brexit aid sought for agri produce – Varadkar

Emergency Brexit aid sought for agri produce – Varadkar

Ireland has accused British Prime Minister Theresa May of wishful thinking for seeking to renegotiate a post-Brexit arrangement for the Irish border.

The EU is preparing to issue an immediate rebuff to Theresa May by publishing a statement rejecting any renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement in the event of the so-called Brady amendment being passed by parliament.

"So I think that they will re-open the Withdrawal Agreement and negotiate properly".

European Council president Donald Tusk also said in a tweet: "My message to PM @theresa_may: The EU is clear and consistent".

The prime minister implored MPs to give her a big mandate to demand a better Brexit deal and not send her to Brussels with one hand tied behind her back.

In a night of high drama at Westminster, the Commons voted by 317 to 301 in favour of a proposal backed by the Prime Minister to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement and replace the backstop with "alternative arrangements" to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

May indicated that she understood this but gave no indication of what she might ask for nor of the timeline for her next steps, although she indicated that meetings in Brussels would be useful at some stage, the officials said. "We need to have a majority that doesn't just get agreement over hurdle of a meaningful vote by a narrow majority but we need to have a stable majority to ensure the ratification", she said.

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

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The renegotiations are part of an attempt to get backing for Britain's European Union divorce deal in parliament.

But the Democratic Unionist Party's Nigel Dodds, whose party backed the amendment tabled by Tory grandee Sir Graham Brady, said it was "utterly reckless to talk in those terms".

The backstop is an insurance policy that aims to prevent a hard border being erected between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who boycotted cross-party talks after that vote, said that he was now ready to meet the Prime Minister to discuss a "sensible Brexit solution that works for the whole country". But while the EU's institutions have offered an uncompromising position in public, diplomats representing some member states in the negotiations said informal discussions had been held in the corridors of the EU's institutions about time limits on the backstop and exit mechanisms.

May has said she needs more - a legally binding change.

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.

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.

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