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Theresa May faces down the EU as she abandons cross-party Brexit talks



LONDON — Theresa May has rejected calls to compromise with opposition parties on Brexit and will instead press ahead with a plan to return once again to Brussels to demand concessions from the EU.

The prime minister has refused demands from those, including her chief of staff Gavin Barwell, to soften her position on issues such as the Customs Union, in order to win over votes from the opposition Labour party for her deal.

She told her Cabinet on Sunday that she will instead demand concessions from the EU on the controversial Northern Ireland backstop, which is designed to keep Britain tied to EU customs and trade rules and avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland if talks fail before the end of the Brexit transition period.

She also blamed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for the breakdown in the talks after he refused to meet with the prime minister until she rules out the possibility of a no-deal Brexit with the EU — the preferred option of Conservative Brexiteers.

Demands by other opposition parties for a second referendum and Brexit to be delayed, were also rejected outright by the prime minister, sources in the opposition meetings told Business Insider.

May will set out her plan in a statement and motion to the House of Commons on Monday afternoon.

The plan, which has already been rejected multiple times by the EU and Ireland, would need to be backed in principle by the House of Commons in a vote at the end of this month, before being negotiated with the EU and then voted on again by the UK Parliament next month.

However, MPs from across the House are poised to force May to think again, with multiple amendments planned to her motion this afternoon, that are designed to take control of the process from the prime minister.

Among the amendments are plans to force May to extend the two-year Article 50 process that will take Britain out of the EU on March 29, and a push to hand control of the entire process to backbench MPs.

The amendments will be selected by the House of Commons speaker John Bercow and then put to a vote by MPs on January 29.

Ripping up the Good Friday Agreement


Downing Street has reportedly considered an alternative plan to renegotiate the Good Friday Agreement in order to avoid the need for a backstop with the EU.

The GFA was agreed between the UK, Northern Irish parties and Ireland in the 1990s after decades of bloody conflict in Northern Ireland.

Ripping up the Belfast Agreement would be incredibly controversial, take months, if not years, and require a series of referendums in order to ratify it.

Downing Street sources deny any plans to rip up the Good Friday Agreement.

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