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May: I can reach Brexit deal that parliament could back

London, Tuesday

Prime Minister Theresa May said Tuesday she believed she could reach a Brexit deal that parliament could support, allowing Britain to leave the European Union on March 29.

In a statement to parliament to update lawmakers on her negotiations with the EU to secure changes to the Brexit deal, May said again she did not see a customs union as proposed by the opposition Labour Party as the way to secure agreement.

“The talks are at a crucial stage and we now all need to hold our nerve to get the changes this House requires and deliver Brexit on time,” she said.

“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.”

May is seeking changes to the deal she agreed with the bloc last year, after lawmakers rejected it largely due to concerns over an insurance policy aimed at avoiding the return of border controls on the island of Ireland.

Critics say the border control policy could leave Britain subject to EU rules for years or even indefinitely after leaving the bloc.

Border controls

The EU says the backstop is vital to avoiding the return of border controls in Ireland and has refused to reopen the Brexit divorce deal, though May (pictured) insists she can get legally binding changes to replace the most contentious parts of the backstop.

European Union Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Monday the bloc would agree to tweak the political declaration on EU-UK ties after Brexit that forms part of the package, to reflect a plan for a closer future relationship that could obviate the need for the contentious backstop.

“It’s clear from our side that we are not going to reopen the withdrawal agreement but we will continue our discussion in the coming days,” Barnier said. The leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom, said lawmakers would back May’s deal if there were assurances the backstop was time-limited ally, suggesting the deal itself did not need to be renegotiated.  – Reuters

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