British PM to try to break Brexit
deadlock with EU concessions
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[January 21, 2019]
By Guy Faulconbridge and Andrew MacAskill
LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister
Theresa May will try to break the Brexit deadlock on Monday by setting
out proposals in parliament that are expected to focus on winning more
concessions from the European Union.
With just over two months until the United Kingdom is due to leave the
European Union on March 29 there is no agreement in London on how and
even whether it should leave the world's biggest trading bloc.
After her Brexit divorce deal was rejected by lawmakers last week, May
has been searching for a way to get a deal through parliament, so far in
The EU, which has an economy more than six times the size of the United
Kingdom, says it wants an orderly exit but senior officials have
expressed frustration and sorrow at London's deepening crisis over
"I have often said Shakespeare could not have written any better the
tragedy we are now witnessing in Britain," German Europe Minister
Michael Roth told broadcaster ARD.
Attempts to forge a consensus with the opposition Labour Party failed so
May is expected to focus on winning over 118 rebels in her own party and
the small Northern Irish party which props up her government with
concessions from the EU.
May will make a statement in parliament at 1530 GMT and put forward a
motion on her proposed next steps on Brexit, though some lawmakers are
planning to wrest control of Britain's exit from the government.
May will focus on changing the Northern Irish backstop, an insurance
policy to ensure no return to a hard border between the British province
In a sign of just how grave the political crisis in London has become,
the Daily Telegraph reported that May was considering amending the 1998
Good Friday Agreement which ended 30 years of violence in Northern
May told her ministers she would focus on securing changes from Brussels
designed to win over rebel Conservatives and the Northern Irish
Democratic Unionist Party, The Times said.
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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves church, near High
Wycombe, Britain, January 20, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Ireland will not engage in bilateral talks on Brexit and will only
negotiate as part of the 27 remaining members of the EU, Ireland's
European Affairs Minister Helen McEntee said.
After May's motion is published, lawmakers will be able to propose
amendments to it, setting out alternatives to her deal.
The 650-seat parliament is deeply divided over Brexit, with
different factions of lawmakers supporting a wide range of options
including leaving without a deal, holding a second referendum and
seeking a customs union with the EU.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group of anti-EU
lawmakers in May’s Conservative Party, said Britain is likely to
leave the European Union without a deal, with a revised Brexit deal
as the next likely outcome.
He said if the backstop was removed then most of the opposition to
the deal from eurosceptics in her party would be removed.
Sterling was steady at $1.2836. Buying sterling is not advisable
because of Brexit uncertainty, UBS Wealth Management said on Monday.
Ever since Britain voted by 52-48 percent to leave the EU in a
referendum in June 2016, London's political class has been debating
how to leave the European project forged by France and Germany after
the devastation of World War Two.
While the country is divided over EU membership, most agree the
world's fifth largest economy is at a crossroads and its choices
over Brexit will shape the prosperity of future generations for
years to come.
(Editing by Janet Lawrence)
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