Theresa May in a tartan peace scarf before the Commons votes. She said afterwards there was a “stable” majority for a deal
Francis Elliott, Political Editor | Henry Zeffman, Political Correspondent | Sam Coates | Oliver Wright. January 30 2019, 12:00am, The Times.
MPs vote for backstop bargaining as Corbyn agrees to meet PM and the EU insists it will not reopen deal
Theresa May will return to Brussels to demand concessions on the Brexit divorce deal after uniting her warring party last night to secure a Commons victory.
The prime minister defeated efforts by MPs to delay Brexit and won a vote on an amendment put forward by Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, to replace the Irish backstop guarantee with “alternative arrangements”.
Mrs May won the reprieve two weeks after the Commons inflicted its historic defeat on her Brexit deal. She committed herself to seeking a time limit on the backstop, achieving a unilateral exit from it or persuading the European Union that technology could remove the need for a hard border.
“If this house can come together, we can deliver the decision the British people took in June 2016, restore faith in our democracy and get on with building a country that works for everyone,” she said. “As prime minister I will work with members across the house to do just that.”
The options were immediately and forcefully rejected by the EU as a chorus of national leaders and the bloc’s most senior officials said that there would be no renegotiation.
Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, said: “The backstop is part of the withdrawal agreement, and the withdrawal agreement is not open for renegotiation.” In a statement the Irish government also rejected re-opening the backstop, describing it as a “carefully negotiated compromise”.
Simon Coveney, Ireland’s deputy prime minister, said the backstop remained “necessary”, while Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, said there was “no majority to re-open or dilute” the withdrawal agreement.