Uncertainty plagues U.K. talks with EU over Brexit

The status of Britain’s Brexit talks with the EU continue to be governed by uncertainty as Prime Minister Theresa May stood by her rejection over the weekend of a deal being negotiated with the EU by her own officials. Speaking in Parliament on Monday, the British Prime Minister insisted that while “real progress” had been made, EU proposals of backstop measures to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland threatened the “integrity of our United Kingdom.” “I do not believe the U.K. and EU are far apart…but critical issues” are still to be agreed on. In particular, she needed to be able to guarantee the public that any backstop was a “temporary solution” and without the “backstop to a backstop” arrangement being proposed by the EU as the only viable solution as the clock ticks down to the March 29 deadline, when Britain is set to leave the EU. Pressure from party Ms. May’s backing away from a deal that was close to being agreed on, follows growing pressure from within her party. On Sunday, former Brexit Secretary David Davies urged Cabinet members to rebel against Ms. May’s Chequers plan for a softer version of Brexit, while 63 Conservative MPs signed a letter accusing the government of misrepresenting the economic impact of a no-deal scenario. Over the weekend, reports suggested that Cabinet members, including House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, could resign if the Brexit plan weren’t hardened. Whether the latest move by Ms. May is sufficient to halt the rebellion remains to be seen. However, other Conservative MPs, including Anna Soubry, have renewed their call for a second referendum or People’s Vote, arguing a no-deal scenario would not pass through Parliament. The latest developments heighten the uncertainty ahead of a meeting of EU leaders on Wednesday, to consider if sufficient progress has been made to warrant talks in November.

Source  : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-international/uncertainty-plagues-uk-talks-with-eu-over-brexit/article25232233.ece

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