Theresa May ‘determined’ to get Brexit deal changes on Brussels visit

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Theresa May will travel to Brussels on Thursday for talks to break the Brexit deadlock.

The prime minister will meet European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, with just over 50 days to go until the UK is due to leave the bloc.

A commission spokesperson said she will “come along to spell out to us what her ideas are for what happens next”.

Downing Street refused to say how many proposals Mrs May will pitch but added she is “determined to do what it takes” to get a deal secured.

The visit will come 24 hours after Mr Juncker meets the Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar, who is also heading to the Belgian capital to discuss preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

Last month, MPs overwhelmingly rejected the deal struck with Brussels, leading the prime minister to vow to push for it to be renegotiated and its most controversial element – the backstop – stripped out.

Senior EU leaders have already ruled out removing the backstop, which is the insurance policy to prevent a hard border reforming on the island of Ireland if a trade deal cannot be struck in time.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel did boost hopes by saying she was open to further talks and calling for “creativity” from the UK side.

Mrs May is due in Belfast today to give a speech at 3pm admitting Northern Ireland faces a “concerning time” but reaffirming her commitment to keeping the border with the Republic open.

By the time she heads to Brussels, senior MPs and civil servants will have had three days to consider a new plan to make that happen known as the “Malthouse Compromise”.

It is named after housing minister Kit Malthouse, and aims to bring the Conservative party together by laying out a plan to change the Brexit deal or leave the EU under a managed no-deal divorce.

Mrs May has promised to give MPs another say on the progress of her plans by Thursday 14 February, if she has not yet secured a new deal with Brussels.

(c) Sky News 2019: Theresa May ‘determined’ to get Brexit deal changes on Brussels visit

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