Brexit in turmoil as May pulls vote to seek changes to EU divorce

REUTERS

British PM Theresa May is meeting European leaders and EU officials later for talks aimed at rescuing her Brexit deal. At the last minute, May pulled out on the Brexit vote which was to take place Tuesday. Political observers are of the opinion that May pulled the plug on the vote due to the persistent criticism on the ‘backstop’, a temporary boarder deal with Ireland, the only bordering EU country.

The PM’s abrupt U-turn, after days of repeated insistence that the vote would go ahead, prompted Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to secure a three-hour emergency debate on Tuesday.

“It cannot be right that the government can unilaterally alter the arrangements,” said Mr Corbyn, who earlier accused Mrs May of “losing control of events”.

She is holding talks with Dutch PM Mark Rutte and Germany’s Angela Merkel after postponing a Commons vote on the deal.

The UK PM has said she needs “further assurances” about the Northern Ireland border plan to get backing from MPs.

European Council President Donald Tusk insisted the EU would “not renegotiate” but said leaders would discuss how to help “facilitate UK ratification”.

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd said further talks with Brussels would focus on the Brexit “backstop” on the Irish border, which Mrs May earlier admitted had caused MPs “widespread and deep concern”.

Source: Reuters and BBC