Brexit: extending Article 50 would serve no purpose - FT quotes PM May

Suzyanne16 via Getty Images

Suzyanne16 via Getty Images

As uncertainty around Brexit grows, a study by the IWH Institute in Germany revealed that if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal, it would put almost 6 lakh people around the world out of jobs.

The government has tabled an amendable motion for debate on Thursday, seeking the House's continued support for the prime minister to demand "alternative arrangements" on the controversial Irish backstop. The free flow of people and goods across the frontier has been an important measure upholding Northern Ireland's peace deal.

Parliament is to hold a debate on Brexit on February 14, but with just 45 days until Britain leaves the bloc it is not expected to change the course of the exit process, and no date has been set for another vote to approve or reject May's deal. She has not indicated she will move one iota away from her rejected deal or any of her red lines.

Barclay on Monday evening had been expected to argue for unspecified "alternative arrangements", a time limit to the backstop, or a unilateral exit clause from the backstop, which keeps the United Kingdom aligned with the EU's customs union.

It comes after Parliament voted last month for the PM to find alternatives to the current backstop arrangement.

"This time that remains is extremely short", he added.

Media captionConfused by Brexit jargon?

The SNP's Westminster leader has written to Scottish Labour MPs calling on them to reject the Prime Minister's Brexit deal and support a second referendum.

She said it was possible to pass bills "quite quickly" with "goodwill" from the Commons and Lords, but added: "It's just not possible to say how quickly it could be done, but obviously it depends on the way in which there is adequate debate on the meaningful vote and that's what the Prime Minister is determined to do".

"She is playing for time, and playing with people's jobs, our economic security, and the future of our industries", he said.

This would provide less than a week for the Government to put the deal to Parliament before the official leaving date of March 29. Scotland did not vote for Brexit and our nation must not be dragged out of the European Union against our will.

May's Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay, traveled to Strasbourg on Monday to meet the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, and talk about the Irish backstop issue, which aims to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic by binding the United Kingdom to European Union rules until a free-trade deal is inked, something critics fear could indefinitely trap the United Kingdom in a watered-down version of European Union membership.

Speaking to BBC radio Monday morning, Johnson said: "The argument is now about how to get out of the backstop".

Slack also told reporters May's statement to Parliament on Brexit has been brought forward to Tuesday from Wednesday.

After buying time two weeks ago, when she won a vote giving her the mandate to reopen talks with the bloc, the embattled premier is expected to ask Parliament to restate its demand to remove the backstop from the Withdrawal Agreement and to promise a further vote if she hasn't brought a renegotiated deal back to Parliament by Feb 27.

But she said the Government is prepared to commit to asking Parliament if it wishes to follow suit if standards change.

May responded that she wanted negotiations "settled before Christmas" and said the best way to end uncertainty was "with a deal".

It's another indication that while May's letter avoided the usual combative tone she takes typically takes with Corbyn, it's likely to be more of a delaying tactic than any real sense she's considering a compromise with him.

May confirmed that the next deadline of Thursday will - as widely assumed - not see a revised deal put to the Commons.

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