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UK PM May to EU: Reopen Brexit withdrawal agreement to win parliament's support

Key Points
  • "The prime minister said that in order to win the support of the House of Commons legal changes to the backstop will be required, that would mean reopening the Withdrawal Agreement," he told reporters.
  • "She said a vote of the Brady amendment makes it clear that the current nature of the backstop is the key reason that the House cannot support the deal."
Theresa May, U.K. prime minister, departs number 10 Downing Street on her way to a weekly questions and answers session at Parliament in London, U.K., on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. 
Chris J. Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

British Prime Minister Theresa May told her senior ministers on Tuesday that in order to win parliament's support for her Brexit deal, that agreement would have to be reopened, her spokesman said.

The EU have so far ruled out reopening the Withdrawal Agreement, which May said would be needed in order to provide legal changes to the so-called backstop, an insurance policy to prevent the return of a hard border in Ireland.

"The prime minister said that in order to win the support of the House of Commons legal changes to the backstop will be required, that would mean reopening the Withdrawal Agreement," he told reporters.

"She said a vote of the Brady amendment makes it clear that the current nature of the backstop is the key reason that the House cannot support the deal."

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Meanwhile  British opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Tuesday his party would back a three-month delay to Brexit if the government cannot get an exit deal approved by parliament before Feb. 26.

An amendment put forward by Labour lawmaker Yvette Cooper seeks to shift control of Brexit from the government to parliament. It could see parliament vote on whether to ask the EU to delay Britain's exit to avoid leaving without a deal on March 29. It proposes a nine-month extension, to Dec. 31, but leaves the length of delay open to debate.

"The Labour party will back that amendment tonight because to crash out without a deal would be deeply damaging for industry and the economy," Corbyn said. "In backing her amendment, we are backing a short window of three months to allow time for renegotiation."