Foreign Secretary: Brexit may have to be delayed

Sunday, 03 Feb, 2019

Asked whether this could cause a delay to the UK's withdrawal from the European Union, he said it would depend on how long that process takes, intimating that the longer time goes on without a deal being agreed, the more likely a delay to Brexit will become.

In meetings with Labour members of Parliament considering whether to support the Withdrawal Agreement that May negotiated, ministers including Business Secretary Greg Clark have discussed enhancing British employment rights and environmental protections after Brexit, as well as money for deprived parts of the country - many of them places which vote Labour.

"But we still don't know what exactly the House of Commons is for".

'When I hear people who were part and parcel of the negotiations, I find it hard to accept this blame game they are trying to play against us, ' he said.

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.

"So we will be setting out measures which will be specific to Northern Ireland, we will be setting out proposals for a greater role for parliament as we move into the next stage of the negotiation and we are continuing to work on further assurances on further undertakings from the European Union in relation to the concern that has been expressed by parliamentarians".

And Wirral South's Alison McGovern said: "The fact is, it will be a lot easier to invest in the coalfield areas and other towns if we stay in the European Union".

But Downing Street pushed back against the minister's comments, with Mrs May's official spokesman saying: "The prime minister has been very clear on a number of occasions that that is not something we are intending to do".

But a cross-party amendment speaking out against No Deal did succeed - suggesting that in future MPs could tie Mrs May's hands on the issue if she fails to win agreement for her deal.

British Prime Minister Theresa May faces another bruising week in Parliament as lawmakers plan to challenge her minority Conservative government for control of Brexit policy. "We said so after the first meaningful vote in the Commons in January", Juncker said, casting a cloud over Britain's latest move toward Brexit.

"If we ended up approving a deal in the days before March 29, then we might need some extra time to pass critical legislation", Hunt told BBC radio.

Most of the criticism of Mrs May's Brexit agreement has focused on the so-called backstop arrangement aimed at avoiding a hard Irish border.

Continuing a public relations offensive in an attempt to sell her agreement with the European Union to the United Kingdom public, Mrs May dodged questions about her own personal future if the House of Commons does not support her.

"It is vitally important that politicians in Westminster understand the overwhelming wish across society in Northern Ireland not to return to the borders and division of times past", Coveney said in a speech, in a signal that the government in Dublin isn't going to soften its stance.

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

"It is possible that there will have to be an extension in order to get an agreement because we can not leave the European Union on March 29 without an agreement".

Believe me, this has been explored endlessly in the negotiations over the last two years'.