What next for Theresa May and the Withdrawal Agreement?

HeraldScotland

May chose to cancel parliament's vote on her Brexit deal earlier this week amid MPs' anger over the arrangement, which would tie the United Kingdom into a customs union with the EU until a permanent solution can be found to prevent a hard border in Ireland.

He described the talks as "a welcome first step that was the removal of uncertainty" over the EU's intentions, because it has shown it wants a "speedy United Kingdom trade deal" that would remove the need for the backstop in the first place.

She made clear a failure by European Union leaders to offer concessions risked the collapse of the whole agreement with the United Kingdom leaving in March in a disorderly, no-deal Brexit.

Al Jazeera's Jonah Hull reports from Brussels.

Speaking at her press conference, Mrs May slapped down the Luxembourger insisting: "I was crystal clear about the assurances that were needed on the backstop, having heard the views of MPs in the House of Commons".

Earlier in the day, May had confronted the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, accusing him of calling her "nebulous" in a press conference.

"The reason I think, in the end, the European Union will want to help us as far as they possibly can is because it is not in their interest to provoke a further political crisis in the UK".

May postponed a parliamentary vote on the deal scheduled for December 11 because she said she knew it would be rejected by a significant margin.

May delivered the message during a private 15-minute meeting with the French and German leaders, Dutch premier Mark Rutte and European Council President Donald Tusk at the end of a bad-tempered summit in Brussels on Friday, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Liam Fox, the worldwide trade minister, said Thursday the Cabinet could block May from bringing her exit withdrawal deal before the House of Commons next month and that it might insist Britain's scheduled departure date of March 29 be moved back several months to provide time for a fresh approach.

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'Our UK friends need to say what they want, instead of asking us to say what we want, ' he said.

"There is work still to do and we will be holding talks in coming days about how to obtain the further assurances that the UK Parliament needs in order to be able to approve the deal", Mrs May said.

It is likely that MPs will have to wait until mid-January to have their say, by which time Labour could already have forced a vote of no-confidence in her leadership.

"I have no mandate to organise any further negotiations", he said.

Juncker said: "We don't want the United Kingdom to think there can be any form of renegotiation - that is crystal clear".

The UK can not leave that arrangement of its own accord.

The Prime Minister was filmed engaged in a tense exchange with EU Commision president Juncker.

Theresa May's agreement had to be put "on hold because it would have been defeated", she added.

Theresa May was reportedly furious at Juncker branding the Brexit debate in Britain "nebulous" - vague or ill-defined - thinking it was a criticism of her.

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