Theresa May’s spokesperson has confirmed the government will hold a meaningful vote on the new Brexit deal by Tuesday, March 12. The European Union offered Britain some more ideas on how to solve the Brexit backstop issue during talks on Tuesday. But the UK and EU “have not yet been able to identify any solution”, a spokesman for the bloc’s executive said.
European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said to a news conference: “Yesterday discussion was focusing on the appropriate legal assurances for both sides on the backstop.
“We offered ideas on how to give further assurances that the backstop, if used, will apply temporarily only for as long as strictly necessary, unless and until a subsequent agreement has been found to ensure that hard border is avoided.
“Talks were held in constructive atmosphere, discussions have been difficult and we have not yet been able to identify any solution.”
He added that “further technical discussions” will continue this week.
The EU approved Mrs May’s first Brexit deal, but it was voted down by 230 MPs in the Commons on January 15.
This was the largest defeat for a sitting government in history, despite Mrs May spending more than two years working on a deal that suited both her and the EU.
Many MPs were not happy with the issue of the Northern Irish backstop.
The backstop aimed to avoid going back to physical border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
What happens if the Brexit deal is rejected next week?
Mrs May has said she will give MPs another chance to vote if her second deal is voted down again.
This next vote will be on whether to leave the EU with no deal.
The following day, on March 14, there will then be a vote on asking the EU to delay the withdrawal deadline, which is currently March 29.
Mrs May has been firm over any potential Brexit delay, saying it would be as “short as possible”.
Extending Brexit should allow Parliament to have more time to finalise a deal on the future relationship between the UK and the EU.
But Mrs May will have to ask EU chiefs whether an extension can even take place, regardless of whether MPs want it to happen.
However, the UK doesn’t need permission from the other 27 EU countries to withdraw Article 50 and stay in the EU.