Hunt signals flexibility over how to address Brexit backstop concerns

Hunt signals flexibility over how to address Brexit backstop concerns

In an interview with the Sunday Times, one of the lawyers - Michael Tomlinson - said they must see any concession from Brussels "in black and white" and in plenty of time before the PM asks Parliament to vote on her revised deal.

May is hoping to win over enough MPs to pass it, by agreeing a legal addendum with the European Union on the deal's most controversial element: a "backstop" to ensure no hard border between EU-member Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland.

The group also wants attorney general Geoffrey Cox to rewrite official legal advice that says the backstop would "endure indefinitely" if no other way is found to keep a soft border in Ireland.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The Attorney General continues to pursue legally binding changes to the backstop that are necessary to ensure it can not be indefinite". However, many Labour MPs have interpreted the move as a sweetener from May's administration, in an effort to win support on her EU Withdrawal Agreement. The delayed voting also will leave to the MPs just the options of a bad deal and a no- deal to choose from.

A source close to a Cabinet minister told the liberal-left newspaper that there was "no chance" of the agreement passing next week, with Brexiteers warning May not to try to ambush them with a last-minute deal with the European Union on the Irish backstop - a sticking point for the DUP and Eurosceptics - and expect them to support the Agreement without giving the document proper analysis.

The Chief Whip added the second vote on Mrs May's Brexit deal, scheduled for next Tuesday, would be "very, very tight".

According to critics, it is suspicious that the delivery of 1.6 billion pounds sterling was announced a week before the House of Commons will decide whether or not it will support the new government plan for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union on March 29.

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A £1.6bn fund created to boost growth and give communities a greater say in their future after Brexit is set to launch, with the majority of the initial allocation going to the North.

The opposition Labour Party's spokesman, John McDonnell called the fund "Brexit bribery".

In a statement, he said, "This towns fund smacks of desperation from a government reduced to bribing Members of Parliament to vote for their damaging flagship Brexit legislation".

The mechanism, known as the backstop, is a safeguard that would keep the United Kingdom in a customs union with the EU to remove the need for checks until a permanent new trading relationship is in place.

As May seeks to win over MPs, a group of prominent Brexit rebels set out the changes they want to see to the agreement in return for their support: it must be legally binding, clear and set out an exit route for the backstop.

The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said on Friday that the bloc was ready to give Britain more guarantees that the backstop was only meant to be temporary and used for a "worst-case scenario". Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.

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