Published: Wed, March 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

May wins Brexit legally binding assurances from European Union ahead of crucial votes

May wins Brexit legally binding assurances from European Union ahead of crucial votes

In a controversial move, she promised a Stronger Towns Fund totalling £1.6 billion (€1.86 billion) to be allocated to the UK's most deprived regions; the fund was widely denounced by the areas' MPs as a transparent attempt to buy votes.

She said that "we made an effort to address British sensitivities, British wishes and British concerns".

Urging the support of Conservative backbenchers, it said: "If today they still can not swallow their pride, hold their noses and back this deal, we fear the consequences".

UK's chief legal advisor Attorney General Geoffrey Cox said the extra assurances won by May do "reduce the risk that the United Kingdom could be indefinitely and involuntarily detained" in the backstop if talks on the two sides' future relationship broke down due to "bad faith" by the EU.

The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the situation was now in the UK's hands, but called on the EU27 to step up its preparations for no-deal.

Tory MP Bob Seely, who voted for the deal, warned that tonight's result would "prolong the Brexit purgatory" and "grab defeat from the jaws of victory".

Speaking after her Withdrawal Deal was defeated in a House of Commons vote, Theresa May said her Government will publish its plans for a no-deal Brexit on Wednesday.

Pierre Moscovici has told France-2 television that the European Union has "done everything we could do" to reassure British lawmakers, who rejected British Prime Minister Theresa May's European Union divorce deal for a second time Tuesday.

Mrs May's scramble across to Europe was accidentally slipped out by Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney earlier, who said Mrs May was going "to try and finalise an agreement, if that's possible".

It is nearly certain that an unchanged withdrawal agreement would be defeated in the Commons, with a large eurosceptic faction of the Conservative party itself and the Demo¬cratic Unionist Party, which props up May's minority government, all set to say nay.

"MPs will vote at a time of intense geopolitical volatility, when the unity of the western alliance that has underpinned Britain's security in the post-war era has never looked less certain", the paper wrote.

Minutes after Cox's advice, the pound was 1.1 percent lower at $1.3014, nearly two cents down from where it was earlier.

As the Irish Times reports, Britain's decision to unilaterally allow tariff-free access to Northern Ireland for goods crossing the Border in the event of a no-deal Brexit is a gift to businesses in the South and a potential nightmare for their counterparts in the North.

If the package passes the Commons, leaders of the 27 remaining EU states will be asked to endorse the new documents at a scheduled European Council summit in Brussels on March 21-22, before the final step of ratification by the European Parliament.

The three-part package of changes effectively aims to resolve a key sticking point for British MPs over the so-called backstop plan to keep open the border between European Union member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.

A second meaningful vote on the deal is set for later today and had been predicted to fail yet again before the Prime Minister secured the changes on Monday. The two sides also agreed to continue working on technology that would do away with the need for border checks.

It added: "Against this backdrop, it is fanciful to imagine that a no-deal Brexit would be anything other than a profound geopolitical shock".

Chris Hammond, 53, hoped that a second referendum was now on the table.

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