Prime Minister could be preparing for a general election in June

Gladys Abbott
February 4, 2019

In the Sunday Times, the Irish deputy prime minister said the backstop is there for a good reason - to keep the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic open after Brexit.

European Union officials have insisted that the deal is not open for renegotiation.

"It's 100 per cent untrue", a Downing Street spokeswoman said about the article, which reported that May's advisors were considering a June 6 election under a scenario in which Brexit was delayed past March 29 but May subsequently won parliament's backing for a withdrawal deal in April.

"When I return to Brussels I will be battling for Britain and Northern Ireland, I will be armed with a fresh mandate, new ideas and a renewed determination to agree a pragmatic solution".

Fox echoed comments by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Thursday that a delay to the March 29 leaving date may be needed in order to get legislation through parliament.

The vote by British MPs this week to seek "alternative arrangements" to the backstop has caused "disappointment and dismay" in Ireland and Europe, Mr Coveney said, but he stated there have been no "credible" alternatives put forward as yet.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has expressed confidence she will win over both the European Union and her own lawmakers when she returns to Brussels to renegotiate the contentious deal to avoid a hard Irish border.

Mrs May, writing in the Sunday Telegraph, said that the Hosue of Commons voted to support the Withdrawal Agreement if there are changes ot the backstop.

May has promised MPs that she will bring any revised deal back to be voted on by MPs on February 13.

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But Maas stressed the EU's focus on protecting Ireland's border.

The backstop is an "insurance policy" - created to avoid a hard border "under all circumstances" between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

If such an agreement could not be reached, then to avoid those checks and border posts or other infrastructure, the backstop would come into force.

Lawmakers "would.be happy with the current backstop if there was a time limit or unilateral exit mechanism", May wrote.

She rejected any suggestion that seeking alternative arrangements to the backstop constitutes "ripping up the Good Friday Agreement". "That is what Parliament instructed me to do".

And our correspondent added that the United Kingdom has not yet publicly suggested an alternative Brussels could live with.

Brussels and London find themselves at an impasse over the final agreement to the UK's exit from the European Union, with the most recent deal having failed in the British Parliament, as the deadline of March 29 looms.

MPs vote that the Irish backstop should be removed from the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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