UK PM May will seek 'pragmatic' solution to Brexit deal in Brussels

Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn

Late last month MPs voted in favour of an amendment tabled by Sir Graham Brady to seek "alternative arrangements" to the Irish backstop after MPs rejected the Prime Minister's Brexit deal by historic margins last month. He slammed the European Union as "irresponsible" for sticking to the old deal as Theresa May heads to Brussels to "battle".

DUP leader Arlene Foster said that a deal can be agreed if the "toxicity" of the backstop is dealt with.

Mr Fox this morning said: "Are they really saying that they would rather not negotiate and end up in a no-deal position?"

He added: "The figure of six seems at the lower end of the figures quoted to me".

He said: "I asked Border Force months ago to advise me to look at what alternative arrangements are possible and they've shown me quite clearly you can have no hard border on the island of Ireland and you can use existing technology - that is perfectly possible".

"If we stand together and speak with one voice, I believe we can find the right way forward", she said.

However, EU leaders have maintained that the Withdrawal Agreement, including the backstop, can not be renegotiated.

"I didn't believe it then and I don't believe it now", he added, by way of justification for his attempts to take No Deal off the table - which would leave the European Union with little incentive to offer anything other than a highly disadvantageous deal - leaving some to question whether he obtained constituents' votes under false pretences by standing on it.

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He said in those circumstances, the United Kingdom will still need to live up to its responsibilities under the Good Friday Agreement and in his view a solution based on regulatory alignment - as proposed in the backstop - will remain the "best and most sensible option".

"Trouble ahead. Leave-backing MPs voted to support alternative arrangements in NI but with grave misgivings about the whole agreement", he tweeted on Sunday.

"When I return to Brussels I will be battling for Britain and Northern Ireland, I will be armed with a fresh mandate, new ideas and a renewed determination to agree a pragmatic solution that delivers the Brexit the British people voted for".

"That is what Parliament instructed me to do on Tuesday night".

Irish Tanaiste Simon Coveney, however, dismissed such suggestions, stating the backstop is required to "ensure the protection of the Good Friday Agreement".

The prime minister rejected accusations that plans to reopen the backstop talks risked upsetting the Irish peace process.

Lawmakers "would.be happy with the current backstop if there was a time limit or unilateral exit mechanism", May wrote.

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