Foreign Secretary: Brexit may have to be delayed

Foreign Secretary: Brexit may have to be delayed

That backstop plan was an "insurance policy", meant to confirm that there will be no return to a visible border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after Britain leaves the EU. The vote had "increased the risk of a disorderly withdrawal", Juncker said.

She said business was also concerned by the Brady amendment because "it is crucial that any changes withdrawal agreement continue to have the effect of ensuring frictionless trade across these islands".

Tusk also tweeted that "Yesterday, we found out what the United Kingdom doesn't want".

May's Brexit deal was emphatically rejected by Parliament on January 15, and in a vote Tuesday she won a mandate to go back to Brussels to change it before returning to Parliament for another try.

All this while Britain is headed for the European Union exit in less than two months, on March 29.

Earlier before the Brexit Amendment vote in the UK House of Commons, the European Commission President, Jean-Claude Junker had told that the terms of Brexit divorce deal could not be renegotiated.

LANGFITT: But not everyone in Dublin thinks the Irish government has played the Brexit border issue wisely.

"The question is: in order to get a deal, would the 26 other countries of the EU - to put it bluntly - screw the Irish?" said Quentin Peel, a British and European politics specialist at Chatham House in London, in an interview with FRANCE 24.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, then addressed the parliament, telling lawmakers that the Irish backstop was part and parcel of the withdrawal agreement and would not be re-negotiated.

"MPs have said "no" to a no-deal, without any clarity or consensus on how to stop it, just a green light to May to once again try to tweak that deal she reached with Brussels", he said.

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Theresa May has indicated, however, that she will encourage Tory MPs to vote for the removal of the backstop that she herself negotiated and agreed with the EU.

One Labour MP involved in the discussions said this was largely about securing guarantees that money that now comes from the European Union would continue to flow after Brexit.

He replied that "this is an if", adding: "The vast majority, the vast, vast majority - all but a tiny handful - supported my amendment which I put down to the Government's proposals the other day in Parliament which outlined the three points that I made - and indeed I put those exact three points to the Prime Minister in the meeting I had with her yesterday". This week a bomb went off in NI's Londonderry Courthouse; a group called the IRA claimed responsibility but denied it was anything to do with Brexit or borders.

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

Carolyn Fairbairn, who heads the Confederation of British Industry lobby group, said: "Renegotiation is a throw of the dice".

She said alternatives to the backstop had been "extensively discussed at the negotiating table". However, this proposition was defeated in the British parliament by a margin of 230 votes.

Theresa May vowed to seek "legally binding" changes to the Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union but gave no firm date for returning to Brussels to reopen negotiations.

If no deal is in place, existing trade agreements with the European Union will evaporate overnight.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox admitted, if the UK were to fall into the backstop in the absence of an agreement on the future EU-UK relationship, it could hamper the country's ability to secure independent trade deals with non-EU countries.

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