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

Swiss Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin right and British Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox left react after signing a trade agreement in Bern Switzerland Monday Feb. 11 2019. Parmelin and Fox signed a bilateral trade agreement reg

With Britain's departure from the bloc just 45 days away, Mrs May tried to avert a rebellion Thursday when Parliament votes again on Brexit by promising another series of votes two weeks later.

The U.K.is on course to plunge out of the European Union with no new trade agreement in place on March 29, after the divorce accord that May spent a year and a half negotiating was overwhelmingly rejected by a record margin in a parliamentary vote January 15.

Britain's economy will barely grow in the run-up to Brexit amid concern the United Kingdom will leave the European Union without an agreement, but if there is a deal there will be a modest post-divorce upturn, according to economists polled by Reuters.

Questioned about business leaders' fears about import and export duties, border controls and customs procedures in the event of no deal, Barclay said the government would release more information soon.

Some lawmakers want to use Thursday's votes to impose conditions on Mrs May's Conservative government in an attempt to rule out a cliff-edge "no deal" Brexit that would see Britain crash out of the European Union without a framework for smooth future relations.

May told members of Parliament that she planned to change the law so that a rule giving them 21 days to consider new treaties wouldn't apply to any deal she gets with the European Union. I believe we can reach a deal that this house can support.

"The talks are at a crucial stage".

"We now all need to hold our nerve to get the changes this house has required and deliver Brexit on time", May is due to tell MPs.

But the opposition was having none of this.

Cooper said her new proposal, which has cross-party support, would press for a vote on an amendment creating time for her bill on February 27, if Prime Minister Theresa May has not passed a Brexit deal by then.

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British lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected May's withdrawal deal last month, with the major sticking point being the Irish "backstop" - an insurance policy to prevent the return of a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

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.

May's office declined to comment Tuesday on what it called "alleged remarks", and said its focus was on seeking changes to her deal that Parliament would accept.

Barclay and Barnier were also joined by Sir Tim Barrow, the UK's European Union ambassador, and Sabine Weyand, the EU's deputy chief negotiator.

Britain's lead Brexit negotiator Olly Robbins has said lawmakers face a choice between May's exit deal or a long extension of the March 29 deadline, according to reports.

Mr Corbyn said: "The prime minister is playing for time and playing with people's jobs, our economic security and the future of our industry".

She said she was prepared to speed up other parts of the ratification process of the Brexit deal if time gets too tight to pass legislation before exit day - a move some interpreted as a sign she was willing to keep negotiating until the last moment.

"While we will follow normal procedure if we can, where there is insufficient time remaining. we will make provision in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, with parliament's consent, to ensure that we are able to ratify on time to guarantee our exit in an orderly way", May said.

"It is a negotiation. It's not possible to predict the future", Ms Leadsom told the BBC.

Figures released Monday showed Britain's economy slowed previous year to its joint-slowest annual rate since 2009, with business investment declining for four straight quarters.

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