Boris Johnson has said that it is “not too late” to get changes to Theresa May’s Brexit deal, with EU leaders due to meet on Thursday. He also said that a second vote on the PM’s current deal was “absurd”.
However, Security Minister Ben Wallace said that Johnson, and other opponents of the deal, were “ignoring the facts”, and that May’s plan is expected to be voted on for the second time in the coming days.
May could feasibly delay a vote on her plan until after the EU summit at the end of the week, where Brexit is likely to be discussed heavily. EU leaders are expected to talk about a UK request to extend the process, and delay Brexit.
Last week, MPs rejected Theresa May’s deal for a second time – this time by 149 votes – and then backed plans to rule out leaving the EU without a deal.
They also voted in favour of an extension to the process – either until 30 June, if the deal is supported before 20 March; or a longer one that could include taking part in European elections if MPs reject her plan again.
All 27 EU member states would have to agree to an extension.
DUP and Labour Response
Speaking on Sunday, Chancellor Philip Hammond said the deal would only return to the Commons if it had support from the 10 MPs from the Democratic Unionist Party.
Negotiations with the DUP, whose MPs prop up the Tory government, are expected to continue on Monday, although Downing Street said a formal meeting to try and get them on board was not scheduled.
DUP MLA Jim Wells told Today the party still had a “huge difficulty” with the existing backstop arrangements – designed to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland but which opponents say will separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.
He said: “We could find ourselves locked in there forever in effect – and once you get in, you can never get out.”
Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will have a series of meetings with other Westminster leaders and some influential backbenchers in an effort to find a cross-party compromise.