May drags Brexit deal deadline to March


British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to urge lawmakers to "hold their nerve" as she struggles to finalize a divorce agreement with the European Union.

"Businesses are begging for certainty", he added.

May told Parliament on Tuesday 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. May told MPs on Tuesday. "We now all need to hold our nerve to get the changes this house requires and deliver Brexit on time", May said in her statement at the House of Commons.

Corbyn also accused the Prime Minister of "recklessly running down the clock" so that MPs would have to vote for her Brexit deal. May can strike a compromise that will win over critics.

The backstop is a commitment to prevent checks on goods and people returning to the Northern Ireland border in the event of no deal. Opponents, including dozens of Ms.

Eurosceptic Conservative MPs see the backstop as a way of tying the United Kingdom to the EU's trade rules indefinitely.

Mrs May said told MPs on Tuesday she was still pursuing three options with the European Union: finding a different way of operating a border that doesn't involve physical infrastructure or checks on the frontier; putting a time limit on the backstop; or adding to the backstop a unilateral exit mechanism for Britain.

In response, the opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said "tell that [hold our nerve] to Nissan workers in Sunderland" and those concerned with their jobs, following Nissan's recent announcement that it would not be producing its X-Tail model in the United Kingdom factory. "The meaningful vote will come back just as soon as it possibly can", the leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom, told BBC radio.

More news: British Defence Minister warns Russian Federation about high price for provocations
More news: Retail inflation cools further to 2.05% in January on easing food prices
More news: William Byron Wins Daytona 500 Pole

A working group comprised of both pro and anti-Brexit Conservative MPs has been discussing possible alternatives.

"And I set out the UK's position, strengthened by the mandate that this house gave me, that this house needs to see legally binding changes to the backstop, and that can be achieved by changes to the withdrawal agreement".

While there is genuine anger in the European Union at the way Mrs May has handled things since the deal was struck in November, both sides are complicit in the high-stakes strategy of running down time, one European Union diplomat said.

Parliamentary experts have said that even if May succeeds in getting a deal approved by lawmakers, Britain may need to request an extension to the Article 50 exit negotiation period in order to approve necessary legislation.

The European Parliament's chief Brexit official is increasingly exasperated by the lack of clear British proposals coming from London seeking to unblock the current deadlock.

Figures released Monday showed Britain's economy slowed a year ago to its joint-slowest annual rate since 2009, with business investment declining for four straight quarters. Business investment dropped by 3.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2018, the fourth consecutive quarterly decline.

Barnier met with the UK's Brexit minister Steve Barclay on Monday evening in Brussels at the British ambassador's residence for discussions on the Brexit deal. Bank of England governor Mark Carney last week said "the fog of Brexit" was to blame for the bank's equally grim forecasts of a continued growth slowdown in 2019.