British Lawmakers Vote on Amendments to Force Government's Hand on Brexit

UK Lawmakers support amendment removing Irish backstop

UK Lawmakers support amendment removing Irish backstop

A leading Brexit supporter says he will back Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit divorce deal with the European Union if she wins concessions on controversial language created to prevent border checks in Northern Ireland.

Parliament defeated May's deal two weeks ago by a huge margin, with many Brexit-supporting rebels in her Conservative Party angry at the Irish "backstop", an insurance policy aimed at preventing a hard border in Ireland if no other solutions can be agreed. Amendment I wants a no-deal Brexit ruled out.

Nigel Dodds, the Westminster leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) - whose MPs Mrs May's government relies on to win key votes - welcomed the announcement, saying: "From day one. we rejected the backstop and argued for legally binding change within the withdrawal agreement".

After British MPs overwhelmingly rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal earlier this month, they will vote again on Tuesday (today) on what they want her to do next as the March 29 departure deadline looms.

"It is now clear that there is a route that can secure a substantial and sustainable majority in the house for leaving the European Union with a deal", she said, adding she would seek "legally binding changes".

Katainen said he doesn't see "much room for maneuver" on a backstop deal created to prevent a hard post-Brexit border that would bring back customs and identity checks between European Union member Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.

Conservative lawmaker Nick Boles, who is backing an amendment created to rule out a no-deal Brexit and seek a delay to Britain's European Union departure, said that Tuesday "is probably the only opportunity that Parliament is going to have to intervene in this process, to take control".

May repeated on Tuesday that it is the government's intention to bring their so-called Plan B withdrawal agreement for a Commons vote by February 13.

Various proposals aim to give lawmakers more control, delay taking the United Kingdom out of the bloc, avoid no deal or change the Irish backstop.

It sends a signal that Parliament as a whole opposes leaving the European Union without a negotiated agreement, which will happen by default on March 29 if no alternative is agreed, but does not compel the Government to prevent such a departure or provide a mechanism for doing so.

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The EU's deputy chief negotiator Sabine Weyand said on Monday the bloc was "open to alternative arrangements" on the Irish border but that Brady's proposal did not spell out what they were.

Meanwhile, Labour has yet to reaffirm their support for any amendments but if anything they will be supporting the Cooper Amendment (which could be a close call as well).

"That won't be easy, and those who misrepresent the backstop don't have an alternative to it", he said.

Among the most hotly anticipated is an amendment by Labour grandee Yvette Cooper, which would have the impact of extending article 50 with the intention of preventing a so-called no deal Brexit.

There's still plenty of uncertainty lingering ahead of the votes later and that explains the choppy session that the pound is having so far, albeit in a modest range to say the least.

She told her Cabinet in the weekly meeting she is ready to return to Brussels and seek legally-binding changes to the backstop.

Conservative MPs have been instructed by the government to vote for Sir Graham's amendment, which could pave the way for a plan known as the "Malthouse Compromise".

The BBC's Laura Kuenssberg says Labour believes the amendment would "give MPs a temporary window to agree a deal" that could unite the country.

Following the defeat of Theresa May's proposed deal, there have been continued calls from the prime minister to take the prospect of leaving without a deal off the table. "(They) have the vote tonight and then we will take it from there".

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