THERESA May will today urge MPs to “hold our nerve” over Brexit talks as she pleads with them for more time to get a new deal sealed.
Ahead of another crunch set of crucial Commons debates on Thursday, the PM will beg her own MPs to give her more time to get an agreement that can be passed in the Commons.
She will tell them that talks are at a “crucial stage” but only by standing firm will we get the changes needed to get Brexit done on time – by March 29.
But some MPs think she’s deliberately running down the clock to try and force them into backing her deal at the last moment.
The PM is still looking at how to replace the hated Northern Irish backstop with a new plan or to get the EU to agree it needs to be time limited and not trapping the UK in it forever.
“By getting the changes we need to the backstop; by protecting and enhancing workers’ rights and environmental protections; and by enhancing the role of Parliament in the next phase of negotiations I believe we can reach a deal that this House can support,” she will say.
Commons boss Andrea Leadsom said Mrs May was working “flat out” to get a deal everyone could agree with, and the EU needed to look “very carefully” about how they could help or Britain would leave without a deal.
“It’s extraordinarily clear what Parliament will support,” she told the BBC earlier.
“What the Prime Minister wants is a bit more time to undertake pretty crucial but delicate negotiations with the EU – to make sure we can sort out the problem of an unlimited backstop.”
And she insisted the PM isn’t even considering Jeremy Corbyn’s plan to tie the UK to a customs union forever, which sparked huge concerns in the Cabinet.
Ms Leadsom said that would mean “no international trade policy” and the PM has “absolutely ruled it out”.
“The PM’s deal offers all the benefits of a customs union, with the chance to write our own trade policy,” she said.
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Last night Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay held talks with EU boss Michel Barnier over possible new plans for Northern Ireland.
But the Frenchman said that it was “clear from our side we are not going to re-open the withdrawal agreement” as Brexiteers want.
More talks are on the cards “in the coming days” and teams are working to “find a way forward”, officials said.
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