Brexit update: When is Brexit happening? What is happening with Brexit NOW?

Daily Express :: Politics Feed
Brexit update: When is Brexit happening? What is happening with Brexit NOW?
Thu, 07 Feb 2019 18:44:00 +0000

In just 50 days, the two-year time limit on negotiations under  will expire. In January, MPs rejected the withdrawal deal negotiated with the EU after two gruelling years for Prime Minister , forcing her back to Brussels to try get some concessions. The key issue was, and remains, the ‘backstop’ - the insurance policy to ensure no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

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After the deal was rejected, Theresa May ploughed on, despite many in her own party trying to oust her.

Now she has just 50 days left to try resolve the issue and get a deal voted through the House of Commons.

However, the EU has said this is the only deal, and reopening it isn’t an option.

And MPs have said they will not vote for Mrs May’s deal unless there are substantial and legally binding changes to the backstop.

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So, safe to say, the deadlock holds strong. Here are some recent developments after Mrs May’s meeting with top EU officials in Brussels on Thursday:

THERESA MAY MAKES MORE PROMISES

Theresa May promised EU leaders on Thursday that she would be able to get a deal through Commons.

But there’s a catch: they need to give her legally binding changes to it.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker again ruled out the kind of changes Mrs May wants to see.

But the two sides agreed to further talks in an attempt to break the deadlock.

DONALD TUSK TELLS US HOW HE REALLY FEELS

On Wednesday, EU Council President Donald Tusk said there was a “special place in hell” for those who promised without a plan to deliver it safely.

Mrs May said she had spoken to Mr Tusk about the comments, and that the language was not helpful” and had "caused widespread dismay in the United Kingdom”.

Mrs May said she had told him he should be "focusing" on working with the UK to get a Brexit deal.

Mr Tusk tweeted that there was "no breakthrough in sight" following his talks with the Prime Minister.

THE DEAL IS DONE, BUT THE AGREEMENT MIGHT NOT BE

The Brexit deal - a 599-page document outlining the withdrawal plans - has a smaller brother, in the form of a 26-page document vaguely outline the “framework for the future relationship” between the EU and UK.

While the EU have repeated time and again that the main document is now closed and will not be reopened, there seem to be some indications that the second might be open to amendment.

On Thursday, Mrs May said she had "set out very clearly the position from Parliament that we must have legally binding changes to the withdrawal agreement in order to deal with Parliament's concerns over the backstop".

She added: "What I see and hear from leaders is a desire for us to work together for us to ensure that we can deliver the UK leaving the EU with a deal."

Mr Juncker "underlined that the EU27 will not reopen the withdrawal agreement" in their talks, according to a joint statement released by the two sides.

But he "expressed his openness" to adding words to the non-binding future relationship document - that also has to be backed by MPs - to be "more ambitious in terms of content and speed".

BARCLAY AND BARNIER TO MEET ON MONDAY

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay and EU negotiator Michel Barnier will hold talks in Strasbourg on Monday, as the EU and UK Brexit negotiating teams discuss proposed changes to the deal.

Downing Street said these talks would cover "alternative arrangements" for the Irish border, as called for by MPs in a vote last week.

AND THEN WHAT’S NEXT?

On Thursday, February 14, MPs will debate and vote on amendments to the Brexit plan again, similar to what we saw at the end of January.

Then Mrs May and Mr Juncker will meet again before the end of February, to review progress.

The Prime Minister is expected to put the deal to a vote in the Commons again towards the end of February - .

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