May makes no change to demands in talks with EU leaders – report


FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street, London, Britain, January 18, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

(Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May made no change to her demands in talks with European Union leaders despite her Brexit plan being defeated by British lawmakers earlier this week, the Telegraph newspaper reported on Friday.

May’s demands continued to focus around either a legally binding time-limit for the Irish ‘backstop’; a right for Britain to unilaterally withdraw, or a commitment to a trade deal finalisation before 2021 to prevent the backstop from coming into force, the report said, citing unnamed senior EU diplomatic sources.

The backstop is an insurance policy designed to prevent the return of border checks on the frontier between EU-member Ireland and Northern Ireland.

May repeated her demands in talks with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Irish leader Leo Varadkar, the paper reported.

On Friday night, May was also going to meet Arlene Foster, leader of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, which has 10 seats in parliament and supports May’s government but not her Brexit deal, a Telegraph reporter said on Twitter. The meeting would also be attended by Nigel Dodds, deputy leader of the DUP.

May’s deal for Britain to leave the EU was defeated earlier this week by 230 votes. She has appealed to MPs to come together to try to break the impasse.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Catherine Evans and Rosalba O’Brien

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