Brexit: can Theresa May rescue the deal?

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Theresa may is touring europe in a bid to improve the terms of her withdrawal agreement on brexit with the european union she’s pulled a vote in the house of commons because she faced a significant defeat so what is she going to do next robert where are we well i think the first thing is she understood that she was heading not just for a defeat but for a defeat

Probably in triple figures one of the most if not the most humiliating defeat for a sitting prime minister on any subject of major consequence so faced with that she knew she had to back down what she’s trying to do now is get some extra riders written into the treaty from legal codicils which will say that the backstop over northern ireland which is the key issue

Here yeah it is it’s the absolute gordian knot essentially the problem with the baxter operations for northern ireland is there is no easy way for britain to escape from them if they are triggered and so there’s no unilateral mechanism of getting out and that’s been the fundamental robbing that’s where the support for her deal is hemorrhage she’s trying to get

Some legal coders written alongside the treaty which give her enough wiggle room to go back to her back benchers and say look actually you don’t have to worry about this this isn’t forever but are these legal coda sources as you described them and i when i was in brussels as the correspondent many years ago for the ft i’ve saw these late-night summits coming up

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With words but in effect there’s sort of two artificial cherries on a pretty soggy cake well that’s the big question i think if it looks like just warm words it will count for very little indeed and if she brings the deal back she’ll lose if she can get something that appears to be legally binding in some way then she may have a chance personally i think that the

Tide has gone out on this deal and unless we’re getting right to you know the middle of martian there’s nothing else in place at which point maybe it could be resurrected she’s in real trouble when do you think she is going to hold a vote and is it within her purview it is broadly up to her as long as she’s prime minister she having pulled it for fear of defeat

Will not want to bring it back until she thinks she could win that’s a big if because at the moment there’s a huge coalition raised against her her argument at the moment is very much to the brexit errs in her party and in parliament saying if you vote this down we could lose everything bricks it could fall all together and the reason she’s making that argument is

Because the remain in parliament now clearly have the wind in their sails they think they’ve got the numbers to either soften brexit or to force a second referendum and what about a leadership challenge the prime minister within their own party well i think that’s entirely possible at the moment i think the odds are probably a little bit against it still because

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There isn’t a clear candidate to take over so everyone’s a bit nervous about forcing a challenge if they’re not sure they’re going to get their person in also it is time-consuming at a time when we don’t have those days and weeks to waste on ettore leadership contest and finally and they have to own the deal they have to only and that doesn’t change the majorities

In parliament so even if the concerns weren’t elected a hard breasts are going to pursue a what they call a managed no deal strategy pohlman won’t support it so in a way i think they’re better off taking the prime minister hostage in cabinet and cabinet asserting itself and saying we now say you’ve got to do this yeah one angle we haven’t talked about but it is

Absolutely keys what did the europeans think about it we’ve seen manual mackrell have to completely overturn his economic programme in france after the julian mass protests and violence the italian government run now by populist is also agitating for learning fiscal deficits go you’ve got the european parliament coming they’ve got very little political room for

Manoeuvre they have and they’re not going to say they’ve said today they’re not going to revise the deal well i think that’s right they’ll do what they can to help if it can help can be added in way i’ve described codicils signed statements then they’ll try to help but as much as they can but there is no appetite or interested in reopening the treaty negotiations are

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You because it’s taken two years to get here and they really don’t want to be because as you say they have bigger fish to fry at the moment they feel bricks it is done here’s a position it’s reasonable we’re not interested again when boris johnson says i’ve heard that the europeans don’t like the irish back stop which coming at the end of the wood of the transition

Period and we don’t like it so why not just get rid of it that’s not going to happen i don’t see at the moment anyway out of the backstop and in fact the more mistrust there is between the rest of europe and britain the more they will demand the backstop be there rubbish nz thank you very much you

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Brexit: can Theresa May rescue the deal? By Financial Times

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