Theresa May ‘flying to Strasbourg’ for last-ditch Brexit talks


Theresa May will head to Strasbourg on the eve of a vote on her Brexit deal, according to Ireland’s foreign minister.

Simon Coveney said he “understands” the prime minister will travel to the French city on Monday night to “try to finalise an agreement” that will win over enough MPs to ratify the EU divorce deal.

Downing Street said only: “We have not confirmed anything at this stage.”

Earlier it called talks with Brussels “deadlocked”.

Mrs May will face MPs in the Commons on Tuesday when she fulfils a promise to give them a second “meaningful vote” on her EU divorce deal.

If she loses, the prime minister will be forced to give MPs further votes on ruling out no-deal and asking to delay Brexit.

EU ambassadors have been told an agreement “seemed close” over the weekend but was rejected by the UK cabinet.

They were also informed Mrs May revealed to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker over the phone she could make another proposal on Monday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said an “important offer” had been made to Britain to unblock talks.

Steve Baker, deputy chairman of the pro-Brexit Tory European Research Group, and DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds over the weekend described the situation as “grim”.

They warned an unchanged Brexit deal would be “defeated firmly by a sizeable proportion” of MPs.

Mrs May suffered the largest ever Commons defeat on her deal when it was first put to parliament in January – losing by 230 votes.

The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019 by default.

Labour’s shadow Brexit sectary Sir Keir Starmer said a short delay of around three months to avoid a no-deal divorce was “doable”.

Even if an agreement is ratified, the government has hinted it may need to extend Article 50 – the legal exit mechanism.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Sunday: “We have an opportunity now to leave on March 29 or shortly thereafter.”

(c) Sky News 2019: Theresa May ‘flying to Strasbourg’ for last-ditch Brexit talks

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