Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Risk of British backstop remains despite Theresa May’s last-minute deal

Risk of British backstop remains despite Theresa May’s last-minute deal

Speaking of the "legally binding changes" the United Kingdom agreed with the EU, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said earlier Tuesday that Britain had been offered "reassurance and guarantees" over the Brexit deal as MPs in London prepare to vote Tuesday on whether to accept the withdrawal agreement, but denied that the concessions brokered alterations to the so-called Irish backstop.

Supporters say it allows Britain to control immigration and take advantage of global opportunities, striking new trade deals with the United States and others while still keeping close links to the European Union, which, even without Britain, would be a single market of 440 million people. As a result, GBP has dropped and risk appetite more generally has tumbled.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox raised this concern when the agreement was presented to Parliament in December, and many lawmakers are now waiting for his legal opinion on the new provisions. If you missed it, here's a recording.

He called on the House of Commons to accept the deal "because I don't see further chances for negotiations".

"Nothing has really changed, and it is still a bad deal so unable to vote for this".

Labour MPs have been calling for clarification on what will happen on March 29 - the day the United Kingdom is scheduled to officially leave the EU.

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Parliament was expected to vote Wednesday on whether to push back the Brexit deadline or go forward without a deal on March 29.

Brexiteers in Mrs May's party had accused her of surrendering to the European Union, and it was not clear if the assurances she agreed to would be enough to win over the 116 additional MPs she needed to turn around the crushing defeat her deal, suffered in January.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks at the start of the debate on the vote on the government's Brexit deal, in the House of Commons in London on March 12, 2019.

And if that is turned down MPs will have a third vote in three days on whether to extend Article 50 and delay Brexit. "Now is the time to come together, to back this improved Brexit deal, and to deliver on the instruction of the British people".

Brexit-supporting MPs had said they would look at what Mrs May achieved before the vote, but that she would have to show a clear way for the backstop to end.

Britain is due to pull out of the European Union in less than three weeks, on March 29, but the government has not been able to win parliamentary approval for its agreement with the bloc on withdrawal terms and future relations.

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May traveled to Strasbourg, France, Monday to work out changes to the agreement with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Mr Cox's advice is likely to weigh heavily on MPs when parliament votes on the new version of the deal on Tuesday.

The Commons will vote on the Brexit deal this evening at 7pm.

The defeat came after May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced changes Monday created to overcome lawmakers' concerns about provisions created to ensure the border between EU member Ireland and Britain's Northern Ireland remains open after Brexit.

Earlier, Mr Cox gave a one-word response to claims he had told Mrs May her new Brexit deal was not legally valid, describing the suggestion as "b******s".

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said it was "make your mind up time" for lawmakers.

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Farage - a staunch Brexit supporter - expressed his opposition to the deal, saying it would not support the UK's best interests. The prime minister has been defeated again. "It is UK's responsibility to tell us what they want for our future relations".

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