May to MPs: We need to hold our nerve on Brexit talks

David Rosenberg said failing to stand down immediately would lead to

David Rosenberg said failing to stand down immediately would lead to"months more of moaning

Housing minister James Brokenshire said on Sunday May would commit to giving parliament another debate on Brexit with the chance to vote on alternative options, if a deal had not yet been agreed and voted upon by then.

Brexit minister Stephen Barclay will meet European Union negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday ahead of a crunch moment in parliament on Thursday, when lawmakers will try to force May to change course or give up control of the exit process.

MPs and peers, including former ministers Phillip Lee, Sam Gyimah, Guto Bebb and Lord Willetts said her current Brexit deal "risks further dividing our nation and costing jobs" and is "highly unlikely" to benefit families and communities.

But senior backbench Conservative Party member of Parliament Boris Johnson, a strong supporter of a hard exit from the European Union, told Radio 4's Today program May should stop exchanging letters with Corbyn and focus on renegotiating the Irish backstop portion of the proposed withdrawal deal, which has been its most contentious component.

After buying time two weeks ago, when she won a vote giving her a mandate to reopen talks with the bloc, the embattled premier is expected to ask Parliament to restate its demand to remove the backstop from the Withdrawal Agreement and to promise a further vote if she hasn't brought a renegotiated deal back to Parliament by Feb 27.

She said the government needed to "get serious" about policy on a customs union and guarantee to "legislate for the protections around workers' rights".

"We must agree a deal that this house can support and that is what I am working to achieve", she told the House of Commons.

"The talks are at a crucial stage", May will say, according to extracts from her statement to parliament released in advance by her Downing Street office. "We now all need to hold our nerve to get the changes this house requires and deliver Brexit on time", May said in her statement at the House of Commons.

The opposition was having none of this.

Our country is facing the biggest crisis in a generation, and yet this Prime Minister continues to recklessly run down the clock.

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Barnier said he understood May did not want to delay Brexit to win more negotiating time and reiterated the controversial Irish border fix - or "backstop" - in Britain's withdrawal agreement was an insurance policy the European Union hoped never to use.

In her letter to Jeremy Corbyn over the weekend, Theresa May stopped short of fully rejecting the Labour leader's demand for the stay in a post-Brexit customs union with the EU.

The backstop is a commitment to prevent checks on goods and people returning to the Northern Ireland border in the event of no deal.

Barclay on Monday evening had been expected to argue for unspecified "alternative arrangements", a time limit to the backstop, or a unilateral exit clause from the backstop, which keeps the United Kingdom aligned with the EU's customs union.

A cross-party group of MPs has said that if there is no deal by 26 February, they will attempt to force the government to reach a decision on Brexit, and whether the United Kingdom is leaving without a deal, by mid-March.

May's political opponents accuse the government of deliberately running down the clock until politicians face a last-minute choice between her deal and no deal.

The Labour leader said this was an "irresponsible act", adding: "She is playing for time and playing with people's jobs, our economic security and the future of our industry".

"It is a negotiation". It's not possible to predict the future.

"Whatever your view on Brexit itself, everyone can now see that we are not ready to leave on 29 March".

"We are now effectively faced with the stark reality between a devastating no deal, for which the country would rightly never forgive us, and a compromise which virtually no one on any side of the argument is happy with".

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