LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May told lawmakers Tuesday to stand up to Brexit and give her more time to negotiate an agreement acceptable to both the EU and the British parliament.
The United Kingdom is on track to leave the European Union on March 29 without an agreement unless May is able to convince the blockade to change the divorce agreement that had agreed on the matter. last year and have it approved by British lawmakers.
"The talks are at a crucial stage," May told parliament. "Now we all need to be brave to get the changes required by this Assembly and deliver the Brexit on time."
The leader of the opposition Labor Party, Jeremy Corbyn, accused him of running down time with fake negotiations to push the parliament to support his pact.
Last month British lawmakers rejected the May withdrawal agreement, with the main Irish stopping point: an insurance policy to prevent the return of a hard border between the British province of Ireland North and Ireland, member of the European Union.
Critics argue that politics could leave Britain subject to EU rules for years or even indefinitely after leaving the blockade.
The EU states that the backstop is vital to avoid the return of border controls in Ireland and refused to reopen the agreement on the divorce Brexit, although May insists that it can obtain legally binding changes to replace the most controversial parts of the backstop.
"By getting the changes needed for the backstop, protecting and improving workers' rights and environmental protections, and by strengthening the role of the parliament in the next phase of the negotiations, I believe we can reach an agreement that this Assembly can support, "said May.
Brexit EU negotiator, Michel Barnier, said today that the block will agree to change the political declaration on EU-UK ties after Brexit which is part of the package, to reflect a plan for a relationship narrower future that could remove the need for backstop.
"It is clear from our side that we will not reopen the withdrawal agreement, but we will continue our discussion in the coming days," Barnier said.
May is pursuing three options in the talks with Brussels: negotiating a way in which the Grand Brittany will leave the backstop without needing an EU agreement, agreeing a time limit for the backstop or finding an alternative agreement that replaces it altogether.
RUNNING DOWN THE CLOCK?
Parliament will hold a debate on Brexit on 14 February but with only 45 days before Britain leaves the blockade it is not expected to change the course of the exit process, and no date has been set for another vote from approve or reject the May agreement.
He could say that if he had not yet reached an agreement in Brussels, he will deliver another report on the progress made on 26 February and will provide another opportunity for Parliament to express his opinion on his approach the following day.
He said he was ready to accelerate other parts of the Brexit ratification process if the time became too tight to approve the legislation before the day of exit – a move interpreted as a sign that was willing to continue to negotiate until the last moment.
Brexit opponents argue that May is deliberately delaying so legislators will have to face the option to either support her agreement or leave without an agreement, a messy exit that companies fear will cause extensive damage to the 39; economy and jobs.
"It seems that the prime minister has only a real tactic: running down in time hoping that members of this House will be blackmailed to support a deeply flawed agreement", Corbyn told parliament.
"This is an irresponsible act: you play for time and play with people's work, our economic security and the future of our industry."
May, which delayed a vote on the agreement in December when it was obvious that the parliament would reject him, he replied to Corbyn saying that he was not responsible for the delay, instead blaming the failure of the parliament to support him.
"I wanted it to be solved before Christmas, I made a deal … I'm not trying to run the time," May said, pulling whistles and ridicule from opposing legislators.
Additional reports by Guy Faulconbridge and Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Janet Lawrence