- Prime Minister Theresa May is going back to Brussels to renegotiate her Brexit deal.
- MPs vote that the Irish backstop should be removed from the Brexit withdrawal agreement.
- May said she is determined to deliver Brexit on time.
- She said she is armed with a “fresh mandate, new ideas, and a renewed determination.”
LONDON – Last week, Theresa May was sent back to Brussels to renegotiate her Brexit deal. MPs voted 317 to 301 that the Irish backstop should be removed from the Brexit withdrawal agreement and replaced with alternative arrangements.
The Prime Minister wrote in The Telegraph that she is still confident in delivering Brexit, and “determined to deliver on time” on March 29, 2019.
May wrote that last Tuesday, MPs were also given the choice to extend the Article 50 process, and debate a possible second referendum, but they decided not to do so.
“Crucially, after months of passionate and often divisive debate, Parliament sent a clear message about what it does want,” May wrote. “By a majority of 16, MPs said that, with changes to the Northern Ireland backstop, they would support the deal that I agreed with Brussels to take us out of the EU.”
In the Sunday Times, the Irish deputy prime minister said the backstop is there for a good reason – to keep the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic open after Brexit.
“The EU will not renegotiate the withdrawal agreement and there will be no withdrawal agreement without the backstop,” he wrote, adding that the backstop was required to “ensure the protection of the Good Friday Agreement.”
May said she is going back to Brussels to battle for Britain and Northern Ireland. She wrote that Now that “the British public wants us to get on and finish the job,” and “the vast majority just want MPs to set out a clear plan that will get Brexit through Parliament and allow us to embark upon the next chapter of our national story.”
Despite Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt saying on Thursday that extra time might be needed to finalise the deal, May insisted in her column the departure date won’t change.
“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, while ensuring there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland,” said May. “That is what Parliament instructed me to do on Tuesday night.”
On Sunday, British trade minister Liam Fox told Sky News it would be irresponsible for the European Union not to reopen negotiations over the deal.
“Are they really saying that they would rather not negotiate and end up in a ‘no deal’ position?,” he said. “It is in all our interests to get to that agreement and for the EU to say we are not going to even discuss it seems to me to be quite irresponsible.”