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United Kingdom acknowledges key trade deals won't be ready by Brexit day

United Kingdom acknowledges key trade deals won't be ready by Brexit day

May needs to convince eurosceptics in her Conservative Party that the backstop will not keep Britain indefinitely tied to the European Union, but also that she is still considering a compromise idea agreed between Brexit supporters and pro-EU lawmakers.

However, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said he does not expect a "breakthrough" in talks.

"That is a word that hasn't been used before and I think that is significant", he said.

The head of the EC said he is "not optimistic" that a no-deal Brexit can be avoided, spelling out the consequences of Britain's departure without a deal.

The prime minister said progress had been made on securing legally binding guarantees over the Irish backstop - the insurance policy to stop a hard border returning to the island of Ireland - on Wednesday but "time is of the essence".

May has since said she will seek to renegotiate the deal to the dismay of European allies who have repeatedly warned her against using time pressure in an attempt to extract concessions.

Britain's worldwide trade secretary, Liam Fox, claimed in 2017 that by the day the United Kingdom left the European Union, the country would be in a position to continue the trade deals it now has as a member with 70 other nations.

Since Juncker had said ahead of time he expected little to come from the meeting, their second this month, the characterization of it turning out to be constructive could be considered a decent outcome.

European Commission president Mr Juncker said he could not rule out an extension to the Article 50 process resulting in the United Kingdom participating in the European Parliament vote.

Seven MPs leave UK's Labour Party days before crucial Brexit vote
His finance policy chief, John McDonnell , called on the lawmakers to "stand down" and try to win back their seat in parliament. These MPs represent everything the Labour Party should stand for and are beyond courageous to have taken the decision to leave.

The spokesman said Brexit Minister Stephen Barclay and Attorney General Geoffrey Cox would be having further "detailed talks" with Barnier in the coming days following May's meeting with Juncker.

Prime Minister Theresa May returned to Brussels this week in the hope of persuading the European Commission to agree legally binding changes to the Withdrawal Agreement that would make the backstop temporary, or give the United Kingdom a unilateral right to exit from it.

"The prime minister believes that she can secure changes in relation to the backstop MPs want - there is a majority in parliament for a deal".

Mrs May's official spokesman said she wanted to bring the deal back before Parliament "as soon as possible".

"We've agreed that work to find a solution will continue at pace", May told broadcasters after their meeting.

The backstop would see the United Kingdom choose between two options if trade talks with the EU fail to produce a deal after March 29, with the first being to leave Northern Ireland in a de facto no man's land where it remains a part of the United Kingdom but subject to the separate customs union and single market regulatory regime of the EU.

However, there appeared to be little enthusiasm for the proposals - meant to replace the backstop with a basic free trade deal combined with technological solutions to avoid the need for physical border checks - on the European Union side.

He played down the idea of the EU reopening the current withdrawal treaty, saying: 'The EU's position is that the treaty won't be reopened but can be interpreted or complemented with explanations that may be satisfactory'.

Hammond said May's talks with Juncker, had gone well.


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