European Union gives 48 hours for Brexit changes to Irish backstop

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"I don't care if he's head of the civil service or Santa Claus, it really doesn't matter, the fact of the matter is, he's got it wrong", Wilson said A no-deal Brexit would increase the chances of an Irish reunification referendum under the terms of the Good Friday agreement, the Northern Ireland secretary has suggested.

A spokesman for May's office said that the prime minister still planned to make changes to her deal, and that Conservative lawmakers only opposed her in the symbolic vote because they feared that making no deal with the European Union would no longer be an option. We are both participants in this process.

When asked directly if Hammond would leave the government if May chose to leave without a deal, he said: "I have always said that I believe it would be a very bad outcome for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union without a deal".

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: "It's becoming increasingly clear that Theresa May will not be able to deliver the changes she promised to her failed Brexit deal".

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell

Mr Sterling said: "The consequences of material business failure as a result of a "no-deal" exit, combined with changes to everyday life and potential border frictions could well have a profound and long-lasting impact on society".

The first vote, in January, saw the deal rejected by 432 votes to 202, the largest defeat for a sitting government in history.

Negotiators are preparing to work through the weekend in a frantic effort to break the deadlock over the backstop measures, which are aimed at preventing a hard border with Ireland if no alternative trading arrangements are in place.

U.K. Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, however, insisted that said "focused, detailed and careful discussions" would resume "shortly".

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Parliament will hold a second vote on May's proposed deal on Tuesday.

The European Parliament's top Brexit official Guy Verhofstadt arrives for a debate about Britain's Brexit split from the EU at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, March 7, 2019.

May tasked attorney general Cox with securing concessions from the European Union on a key demand of pro-Brexit lawmakers, namely that divorce provisions to ensure no hard border on the island of Ireland would not trap the United Kingdom in the bloc's trade rules.

But Dr Fox said they were a first salvo ahead of trade talks which had not yet begun, and were "exactly what we expected to see, because it is exactly what the USA has done in other trade negotiations".

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"I am surprised to hear the comments that have emerged over the last 48 hours the proposals are not clear".

Cox rejected criticism that Britain had not presented viable plans to the European Union, telling MPs the proposals were "detailed, coherent, careful" and "as clear as day".

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