Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 June 2019

Theresa May wants more time to solve Brexit impasse

UK prime minister urged MPs to hold their nerve as deadline nears

Theresa May calls on MPs to hold their nerve with fewer than 50 days until Brexit. PA
Theresa May calls on MPs to hold their nerve with fewer than 50 days until Brexit. PA

UK prime minister Theresa May on Tuesday urged MPs to hold their nerve and give her negotiators time to secure a successful Brexit deal.

Mrs May told the House of Commons that talks were at “a crucial stage” to secure the changes demanded by MPs that would allow the UK to leave the European Union on March 29.

The EU last week rebuffed Mrs May’s efforts to renegotiate a deal that she secured last year but was later overwhelmingly rejected by MPs.

With fewer than two months to go until Brexit day, the opposition has accused the government of cynically running down the clock to ensure a version of her deal wins parliamentary backing.

The leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, accused her of blackmail. The most likely alternative to her deal is leaving Brexit without a deal on future political and trade relations which most business leaders have warned would be disastrous.

“I believe we can reach a deal that this House can support,” Mrs May told parliament. “The talks are at a crucial stage. We now all need to hold our nerve to get the changes this House requires and deliver Brexit on time.”

She promised MPs a final decisive vote on her deal but only after she has secured changes to a crucial element to the agreement concerning checks at the border between EU-member Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK.

“Having secured an agreement with the European Union for further talks, we now need some time to complete that process,” she said.

Mrs May is due to meet with Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the EU Commission, before the end of February to secure some sort of deal.

Senior officials were in Dublin and Strasbourg on Tuesday to seek a way through the impasse, she said.

Updated: February 20, 2019 04:57 PM

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