MPs have backed Theresa May in her effort to renegotiate a Brexit deal between the EU and the UK. However, European officials have previously confirmed that they will not reopen talks.
An amendment to the Brexit deal proposed by Conservative MP Sir Graham Brady seeked “alternative arrangements” to the Irish backstop in the original withdrawal agreement. It won by 16 votes in Parliament on Tuesday.
May had urged MPs to vote in favour of it to give her a mandate to return to Brussels and re-open negotiations in order to secure a “legally binding change”. But the EU has said it will not change the legal text agreed with the UK PM.
Various other amendments to the Brexit deal were considered and voted upon. A proposal rejecting a no-deal Brexit, also won the support of Parliament, but the vote was not binding – meaning the date for exit remains 29 March.
Five other amendments, including Labour MP Yvette Cooper’s bid to delay Brexit if Mrs May does not get her deal through Parliament, were defeated.
Brexit: What’s Next?
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has now said that he will meet with the Prime Minister. He has previously refused to hold talks with May until she ruled out a no deal Brexit.
Corbyn and May will discuss the next steps of the Brexit process, with the Irish backstop still the main sticking point to agreeing a deal, and was one of the reasons May’s original deal was voted down in a historic vote at the beginning of the year.
The controversial backstop element of Mrs May’s original plan is the insurance policy to prevent checks on goods and people returning to the Northern Ireland border, which some MPs fear could leave the UK tied to the EU’s rules indefinitely.
However, May will need to go back to the EU and ask to renegotiate, and will hope that the vote on Tuesday will give her an improved mandate to seek an improved deal with the EU.
She told the Commons there was now a “substantial and sustainable” majority of MPs supporting leaving the EU with a deal, but admitted renegotiation “will not be easy”.
Tomorrow May will hold Prime Minister Question Time in Parliament with Brexit likely to be high on the agenda.