Published: Tue, March 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Top EU official: Revised Brexit deal ‘is the best possible’

Top EU official: Revised Brexit deal ‘is the best possible’

Announcing the breakthrough in Britain's House of Commons, Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington said lawmakers faced "a fundamental choice ... to vote for the improved deal or to plunge this country into a political crisis".

Sterling, which had risen ahead of the talks between May and Juncker, extended gains in hopes the changes may be enough to sway rebellious British lawmakers who have threatened to vote down May's plan again on Tuesday.

However, despite renewed talks, there has been no progress, fuelling speculation in Westminster that May would withdraw the motion - called the "meaningful vote" - in the face of certain defeat on Tuesday.

For pro-Brexit campaigners, that would be a betrayal of the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU.

The main disagreement over the border issue has been over an EU-suggested backstop - keeping Northern Ireland in the EU single market and the Customs Union after Brexit until a solution is found - because it would create a sort of a border within the the Irish Sea.

European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier welcomes British Prime Minister Theresa May prior to their meeting in Strasbourg, March 11, 2019.

Juncker said "the agreement today is the best possible" and warned "there will be no new negotiations".

If she loses the vote on Tuesday, the Parliament will be asked to vote on a no-deal Brexit and, if that vote fails as well, they'll be asked for a delay.

"There is a growing feeling that Tuesday should be a straight up-down vote on the deal, " Keir Starmer, Labour's Brexit spokesman, told Sky News.

The opposition Labour Party's Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer, said his party should support staying in the European Union if there was a second referendum.

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If that no-deal option is rejected, MPs could get a vote on Thursday on whether to request a delay to Brexit from the EU.

Media captionIs the United Kingdom actually in a crisis over leaving the EU?

"What you've seen recently is much more movement towards May credibly threatening no Brexit, which is reinforced by the Labour Party now endorsing, under certain conditions, a second referendum". "Let's bring the UK's withdrawal to an orderly end", the former Luxembourg premier told reporters, sitting next to May at a late-night press conference in the French city.

Mr Juncker added that he "had no doubt" that negotiations could be concluded in time for the original due date. The Dublin-based airline is 55% EU-owned, but 20% of its stock is owned by United Kingdom -based shareholders who will, at the end of this month, no longer be in the EU.

All EU member states have to agree to an extension, and some EU leaders have expressed concern that it needs to have a specific goal. That provision will be legally binding, Lidington said.

There are reports May is under pressure to quit.

For the Prime Minister herself, what happens this week will decide her own future.

But MPs rejected it in January by a massive 432 votes to 202, with many of May's Conservatives rebelling against her.

"These resolutions will remain in place until the board determines that the ownership and control of the company is no longer such that there is any risk to the airline licences held by the company's subsidiaries pursuant to EU Regulation 1008/2008", Ryanair said. "It might be that at this stage some Conservatives will choose to vote against the government".

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