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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during PMQ session in Parliament, in London Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during PMQ session in Parliament, in London  (HOC/JESSICA TAYLOR)

British PM to seek changes in Brexit deal

British Prime Minister Theresa May appears headed on a collision course with the European Union after MPs demanded she renegotiate her EU withdrawal deal which other EU members have said it is not open for re-negotiation.

By Susy Hodges

Lawmakers narrowly voted in favour of asking May to return to Brussels to seek changes to the Northern Irish backstop provision in her Brexit deal. This is an insurance policy designed to avoid the risk of a return to a hard border on the island of Ireland. May told parliament after the vote that she would seek legally binding changes to her Brexit deal but admitted that renegotiating it will not be easy.

The response from Brussels to this latest twist in the Brexit saga was not long in coming. The EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the bloc stood by the existing withdrawal agreement and a similar response came from the European Council President Donald Tusk.

No deal Brexit?

A separate amendment rejecting a no-deal Brexit also won the support of parliament on Tuesday but the vote was not binding. This means the date for Britain’s exit from the EU still remains as March the 29th.

Commentators here now believe the chance of a disorderly no-deal Brexit have increased as a result of Tuesday’s votes in parliament.

Amidst the continuing lack of clarity over the manner of Britain’s exit from the EU, one thing seems increasingly clear. This long and painful Brexit process is looking more and more likely to go down to the wire and probably will not be decided until the very last moment.

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31 January 2019, 11:10