European Union leaders: No renegotiation on Brexit deal

The glorious Brexit uncertainty The only dead cert on data rules for tech biz in 2019
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The glorious Brexit uncertainty The only dead cert on data rules for tech biz in 2019 READ MORE

Many pro-Brexit British lawmakers fear the backstop will trap Britain in regulatory lockstep with the European Union, and say they won't vote for May's deal unless it is removed. The EU has repeatedly said the agreement is not open for renegotiation, and it reiterated that point mere minutes after Tuesday's vote. "The withdrawal agreement will not be renegotiated", he said in the European Parliament.

A militant group calling itself the "IRA" said this week it was responsible for a auto bomb which detonated outside a court house in the Northern Irish city of Londonderry in January, highlighting the threat still posed by groups opposed to the peace agreement.

Britain and the European Union struck a divorce deal in November after a year and a half of tense negotiations.

Known as the "Irish backstop", Juncker said it must remain in the agreement "as an insurance against the return of a hard border" or Ireland could, again, "slip back into darker times of the past" - a reference to the bloody 30-year-old conflict between Republican Catholics and Protestant Unionists that came to an end in 1998.

"The fact that recess won't be taking place shows you that we are taking all available steps to make sure that 29 March is our exit date", the spokesman said.

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Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn said the Parliament's first duty was "to block a disastrous no deal", and he believed that, whatever the outcome over the coming weeks, it was inevitable the government would have to delay Brexit, as there was not enough time to pass the necessary legislation.

One Labour MP involved in the discussions said this was largely about securing guarantees that money that now comes from the European Union would continue to flow after Brexit.

Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which props up the Prime Minister's minority Government, today warned the European Union it must "face up to reality" and revise the "toxic backstop".

In a statement following the call, the Irish government said: "The Taoiseach set out once again the unchanged Irish and European Union position on the Withdrawal Agreement and the backstop, noting that the latest developments had reinforced the need for a backstop which is legally robust and workable in practice".

In London, May acknowledged that her government hasn't decided exactly how it will try to change the deal to address British lawmakers' concerns about the Irish border. However, this proposition was defeated in the British parliament by a margin of 230 votes.

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More fundamentally, the problem is that while the Prime Minister feels reassured by her fresh mandate, Brussels sees only more chaos.

"The withdrawal agreement remains the best and only deal possible... the debates and votes in the House of Commons yesterday do not change that".

He added: "The last words I said to her were "don't bring no deal back to Parliament" because it's not acceptable - it's not a sensible or serious way of going forward".

May has repeatedly said they would not give in to any solution that would divide the United Kingdom.

The EU-sponsored PEACE programme, which supports efforts towards peace and reconciliation between Ireland and Northern Ireland, has been approved to continue after a possible no-deal Brexit. The EU would have to significantly change their stance on reopening the Withdrawal Agreement if legally binding changes are to be made on the backstop.

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