UK PM: Brexit vote to proceed as planned

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British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday secured "legally binding" changes to her Brexit deal just less than 24 hours before a meaningful vote in the parliament on it, according to senior British official here.

But as parliament prepares to reassess the deal, the prime minister has little to show for her efforts, prompting warnings of another humiliating loss.

"Now is the time to come together to back this improved Brexit deal and deliver on the instruction of the British people", May said.

On Friday the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said the United Kingdom will have the option to withdraw unilaterally from the customs union element of the backstop.

In January the British parliament voted to reject May's deal by 230 votes, the biggest defeat for a government in modern British history.

In a press conference with May, Juncker said "it is this deal or Brexit may not happen at all", adding that Irish premier Leo Varadkar was willing to accept the "legal instrument" to clarify the backstop in order to get a deal done.

It also involves setting a deadline of the end of 2020 to find ways to avoid a hard border in Ireland without recourse to the backstop that was opposed by the British Parliament. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

But the momentum moved sharply against the Prime Minister shortly afterwards, as Attorney General Geoffrey Cox released formal legal advice that the changes secured by Mrs May "reduce the risk" that the backstop will be permanent, but do not remove it altogether.

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Brexiteers in May's party accuse her of surrendering to the European Union and it was not clear if the assurances she agreed would be enough to win over the 116 additional lawmakers she needs turn around the crushing defeat her deal suffered on Jan 15.

On the other hand, the opposition Labour party, with its 247 MPs, is likely to reject May's proposal. The financial consequences of a no-deal Brexit are well versed and politicians must now act to prevent this from becoming a reality for businesses and households across the country.

"The backstop will endure indefinitely, unless and until superseded by another agreement, save in the extreme and unlikely event that in future negotiations the European Union acts in bad faith in rejecting the UK's demands".

That essentially kills off Theresa May's hope of convincing the DUP and ERG of backing her vote, leaving her facing another heavy defeat in parliament.

The latest pact stressed the "legal force" and "binding character" of the withdrawal agreement. We haven't got time for a leadership election.

Any postponement would have to be approved by the leaders of the other 27 nations, who are next meeting at a Brussel's summit on March 21st and 22nd - a week before Brexit day. If Members of Parliament (MPs) vote for a no-deal that means the United Kingdom will leave the bloc on 29 March without any rules of regulations in place to replace those that were in place during the membership of the EU.

British officials have said an exit agreement that locked Britain into a Customs Union with Europe was unacceptable but they struggled to secure changes in the deal agreed to late past year. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a Twitter message that he was "pleased with the agreement", adding: "An orderly.Brexit is crucial for both the European Union and the UK".

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