Monday, 25 October 2021

EU says UK must decide next Brexit steps

LONDON: The EU has said it is now up to MPs to decide the next steps for Brexit and it remains “committed” to agreeing a deal in time for the UK to leave this month.

Officials said they had offered fresh assurances on the issue of the Irish backstop ahead of Tuesday’s second vote by MPs on Theresa May’s deal. It was “now for the Commons to take an important set of decisions”, they said.

Labour and Tory MPs have told the PM she must honour her commitment to put her deal to the vote again on Tuesday.

Amid speculation the vote could be postponed or downgraded, No 10 confirmed it remained the plan to go ahead with another “meaningful vote”, with the motion to be debated to be published later on Monday.

Downing Street said the PM’s focus was “getting on with the work required to allow MPs to support the deal and to bring this stage of the process to an end”.

The BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the prime minister was “likely” to head to Strasbourg later – where the European Parliament is based.

This was reiterated by Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, who told a press conference he “understands” Mrs May is travelling to the city later.

But neither No 10 or the European Commission have confirmed this, with a spokesperson for the latter saying: “We keep talking and working.” The spokesperson did confirm, however, that the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Mrs May had spoken by phone on Monday.

The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March but MPs rejected the withdrawal deal on offer in January and demanded major changes.

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