Brexit news latest: Theresa May to plead for support from EU leaders as Commons showdown looms

Theresa May is set to plead with EU leaders to give ground and help her Brexit deal survive next week’s Commons showdown.

The Prime Minister said decisions made in the coming days in Brussels would have a “big impact” on the fate of her plan.

MPs will vote on whether they support the Withdrawal Agreement on Tuesday as Mrs May seeks concessions on the backstop.

She is moving to reverse the humiliating 230-vote defeat suffered last time Parliament passed judgement on her struggling deal. 

Theresa May’s Brexit deal vote for MPs is set for Tuesday, March 12 (Alex Lentati / Evening Standard)

Mrs May will use a speech in Grimsby to say the Government is determined to secure legally binding changes to the backstop.

Urging the EU to agree, the Prime Minister will say: “We are both participants in this process.

“It is in the European interest for the UK to leave with a deal.

“We are working with them but the decisions that the European Union makes over the next few days will have a big impact on the outcome of the vote.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer cast doubts over the Prime Minster’s ability to deliver changes to the deal.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer speaking outside Parliament (AFP/Getty Images)

“This speech looks set to be an admission of failure,” he said.

“After two years of negotiation, the Government is simply incapable of delivering a Brexit deal that protects jobs, the economy and people’s livelihoods.”

Countdown to Brexit: 22 days until Britain leaves the EU

Negotiators are preparing to work through the weekend in a frantic effort to break the deadlock over the backstop measures. 

The measures are aimed at preventing a hard border with Ireland if no alternative trading arrangements are in place.

EU officials are reported to have given the UK until Friday to come back with fresh proposals after “difficult” talks stalled this week.

The European Commission confirmed “technical talks” were continuing.

It said President Jean-Claude Juncker was “available 24/7” to meet Mrs May if a deal was close.

Talks: Theresa May with Jean-Claude Juncker (EPA)

Number 10 is believed to hope a deal can be reached by Sunday night. 

It is possible the Prime Minister travelling to Brussels on Monday morning to meet Mr Juncker.

Ministers were said to be braced for another heavy defeat on Tuesday after the previous “meaningful vote” was lost.

Many MPs were deeply unhappy about the backstop.


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