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Brexit defeat looms for PM as talks 'deadlocked'

By Caoimhe Toman

Date: Monday 11 Mar 2019

Brexit defeat looms for PM as talks 'deadlocked'

(Sharecast News) - Downing Street said on Monday that Brexit talks with the European Union were "deadlocked" ahead of the crunch parliamentary vote on Tuesday, leading to calls from senior Conservatives to offer MPs new options.
Prime Minister Theresa May spoke to the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker by phone on Sunday and has no plans to go to Brussels to continue negotiations before the vote, a government source said on Monday.

May and her attorney general Geoffrey Cox have been pushing for changes to the deal on the Irish backstop, calling for the EU to soften its stance so that the deal will be able to pass through the House of Commons in the second 'meaningful vote' on the deal on Tuesday. May lost the first such vote by the largest ever margin in parliament's history.

The EU has refusing to budge since it believes the UK government's proposals are an attempt to build a unilateral exit mechanism into the Irish backstop, which would risk a hard border in Ireland.

"May has boxed herself even deeper into a corner, it seems the second meaningful vote will go ahead on Tuesday but it also seems like it won't be the last meaningful vote on this," one EU official told Reuters.

"We really want to be over with it now. It's not going anywhere so even an extension is unlikely to break the impasse. There is not much patience or good will left on our side."

If May's deal is defeated on Tuesday, the Commons will decide the following day if they will accept a no-deal Brexit and if not, they will be given a vote on whether to delay Brexit.

Some senior Tory MPs are urging May to delay the vote if she does not get concessions from the EU as they fear she will suffer another defeat as she did in January, The Times reported on Monday.

The MPs have suggested May to propose new motions for MPs to set out what an acceptable Brexit deal would look like.

"As it stands her deal is going to be defeated," a senior Tory party source told the Times. "It has been made clear to Downing Street that it would be eminently sensible to avoid that by proposing a motion that the party can support."

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