UK MPs put forward rival Brexit plans

Former attorney general and pro Remain MP Dominic Grieve speaks to the media outside Millbank in Westminster as Theresa May is battling to save her Brexit deal. PRESS ASSOCIATION

British Prime Minister Theresa May unveils her Brexit "Plan B" to parliament on Monday after MPs shredded her European Union divorce deal, deepening the political gridlock 10 weeks from departure day.

Parliamentarians seeking to delay or stop Brexit entirely were already playing a risky game with democracy given the result of the 2016 referendum - a vote described by then-Prime Minister David Cameron as "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" - prior to the warning that their tactics risk dragging the Queen into the accelerating political crisis.

The Irish backstop - an insurance policy to avoid the return of a hard border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland - is the most contentious element of British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal which was overwhelmingly rejected by parliament last week.

The Prime Minister is to set out her "Plan B" for getting her Brexit arrangements through in the House of Commons on Monday afternoon.

"MPs (members of parliament) must now act to break the deadlock", Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said in a statement. Corbyn's backing for the move is highly significant: As leader of the official opposition, he is nearly certain to get a chance to put his plan to a vote in the House of Commons on January 29.

But Mrs May will not be able to impose her own position on the party or even her government.

"This decision is the right one and reinforces that they are an integral part of our country and are very welcome to stay here in the United Kingdom that they have made their home".

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar's government has taken a line that there would have to be "difficult conversations" over border arrangements if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal.

Many Conservative MPs and the DUP say they can never support this, but the European Union insists it will not consider removing or altering it.

His actions have led to many calls for his deselection from leading councillors and party officials, with the association chairman Philip Sagar saying people are telling him they will no longer vote Conservative should he remain the MP.

- Labour's amendment: A second referendum on the cards?

Among the MPs' amendments are plans to prevent a no-deal Brexit and to extend the deadline for leaving the EU.

Some Tory MPs - and those in Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party - have called for the backstop to be removed from the withdrawal agreement altogether.

Labour has distanced itself from backing a second referendum after tabling an amendment allowing MPs to vote on ways to end the "Brexit deadlock".

She said she did not believe there was a majority in the Commons for a fresh poll, and insisted it was the "duty" of MPs to deliver on the result of the 2016 vote.

It came as Theresa May was due to hold her weekly Cabinet meeting to discuss her next moves, with backbenchers also planning various amendments created to make various changes on Tuesday.

Instead, however, she anticipated there would be "further meetings" this week to seek a position that might get parliamentary support, ahead of a parliamentary debate on January 29 (but on a "neutral motion", not a new deal).

Coveney said that stance was confirmed by the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, that the bloc wouldn't renegotiate a deal that took two years to finalize.

It means Northern Ireland staying aligned to some rules of the EU single market and effectively keeps the United Kingdom in the customs union until the United Kingdom and EU reach a lasting trade agreement. "There are those on both sides that want the government to rule this out", said May.



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