Switzerland formalises post-Brexit trade agreement with the UK
13 February, 2019, 17:22
MPs last month overwhelmingly rejected the deal struck between May and Brussels and the British premier has since been attempting to secure changes that would satisfy parliament's lower House of Commons.
Earlier in the day, the prime minister began clearing the path to rushing through a deal at a very late stage.
May went to Brussels last week in an attempt to secure changes to the so-called backstop arrangement created to avoid border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
May said that if she had not yet reached a deal in Brussels, she would deliver another progress report on February 26 and provide another chance for parliament to express its opinion on her approach the following day.
In a statement to parliament to update lawmakers on her negotiations with the European Union to secure changes to the Brexit deal, May said she wanted lawmakers from all parties to back the Brexit deal she is aiming to strike, citing the need to pass further legislation to prepare for Britain's exit from the EU.
Former attorney general Dominic Grieve warned that time was running short for the ratification of a deal under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act. An additional agreement was also signed that applies the provisions of the Swiss-UK trade deal to Liechtenstein as well.
"But of course, in this instance MPs will already have debated and approved the agreement as part of the meaningful vote".
The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, did not mince his words following a visit to Brussels by the UK's Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay, and made it clear that the European Union would not budge on its assertion that the Withdrawal Agreement that was drawn up by the two sides late a year ago will not be renegotiated. She said Mrs May would bring her deal back to Parliament for a vote "as soon as the issue around the backstop has been sorted out".
Mr Corbyn said Mrs May's delays were fuelling business uncertainty and sapping confidence in the government's ability to deliver Brexit.
"This week Parliament should set a clear deadline for the government to come forward with its revised deal or give MPs the chance to decide what happens next".
British Prime Minister Theresa May (L) leaves 10 Downing Street to make a statement to the House of Commons to update on Brexit talks in London, Britain, Feb. 12, 2019.
She appeared to open up the possibility that MPs might in the end be asked to vote at a moment of peak jeopardy, and that ministers might be willing to let the matter run that long.
For his part, Bank of England chief Mark Carney warned that leaving the European Union without a transition deal "would be an economic shock for this country", and said Brexit was an "acid test" of the globalised economy.
According to The Sun, if the United Kingdom prime minister's deal is not ratified by mid-March, a new bill will force the delay of Brexit, possibly by many months.
"It is the only way of giving the House of Commons the time to produce a consensus about a positive way forward if the PM can not get her deal through by mid-March".
"We are in danger of drifting into no deal by accident", she said.
May again alluded to this when she told the House: "Having secured an agreement with the European Union for further talks, we now need some further time to complete that process".
"We triggered Article 50 and that's what we are striving to do".