Brexit - Theresa May seeks bilateral treaty with Dublin | Eurasia Diary -

24 August, Saturday

Brexit - Theresa May seeks bilateral treaty with Dublin

A British newspaper says a bilateral deal with Dublin to remove the contentious Brexit backstop arrangement is being planned. A parliamentary plot to take control of the withdrawal process appears to be gaining traction.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May is to pursue a bilateral treaty with the Irish government in an attempt to push her Brexit deal through parliament, a newspaper reported on Sunday.

The Sunday Times said aides to May believe a deal with Dublin would remove the huge opposition to the country's withdrawal agreement setting out its divorce from the European Union.

The UK leader lost a parliamentary vote last week on the deal having failed to win the support of pro-Brexit rebel lawmakers in her Conservative party, as well as Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party that props up her minority government.

Many MPs oppose the backstop that the European Union insists on as a guarantee to avoid a hard border between the Irish Republic, which remains an EU member, and Northern Ireland, which will leave with the rest of the UK on March 29.

Last Tuesday's defeat left Britain facing the prospect of no deal to smooth its exit from the EU in little more than two months' time.

New options due

May is due to announce in parliament on Monday how she plans to proceed, after holding discussions with other political parties in the wake of the landslide vote.

The newspaper later updated its own story saying the Irish government was not supportive of the treaty plan. It cited senior Irish government sources who said May's proposal was "not something we would entertain."

May's office, meanwhile, described as "extremely concerning" reports that senior Conservative politicians were plotting for parliament to seize control of Brexit.

Amendments planned

British media reported that one group of MPs plans to table a motion this week that would suspend the country's withdrawal process under the EU's Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Other politicians are said to be planning an amendment making it impossible for Britain to leave the EU without a deal.

"The British public voted to leave the European Union, and it is vital that elected politicians deliver upon that verdict," a Downing Street spokeswoman said.

"Any attempt to remove the government's power to meet the legal conditions of an orderly exit at this moment of historic significance is extremely concerning."

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox warned of a "political tsunami" if MPs fail to deliver on the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, he slammed those calling for May to rule out a no-deal Brexit — a key demand of the Labour main opposition — saying the "most stupid thing possible" in a negotiation is to "give away your strongest card."

Deutsche Welle

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