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Brexit: Theresa May promises meaningful vote after more talks with EU

Theresa May has promised MPs a final, decisive vote on her Brexit deal with the EU – but not until she has secured changes to the Irish backstop clause.

Speaking in the Commons, the PM said she had a “mandate” to seek changes to the backstop as MPs had voted for it.

“We now need some time to complete that process”, she added.

If no agreement is reached by 26 February, then MPs will get more non-binding votes on Brexit options the following day.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused the PM of “recklessly running down the clock” in an effort to “blackmail” MPs into backing her deal, and asked when MPs would get a final, “meaningful” vote.

He said: “We were promised a meaningful vote on a deal in December, it didn’t happen. We were told to prepare for a further meaningful vote this week after the prime minister again promised to secure significant and legally binding changes to the backstop and that hasn’t happened.

“Now the prime minister comes before the House with more excuses and more delays.”

The backstop arrangement is the the “insurance” policy in Mrs May’s deal to avoid a return to border checks on the island of Ireland.

The EU has reiterated it will not renegotiate the withdrawal agreement.

Mrs May is making a statement to MPs, ahead of a debate on Thursday on the next steps for Brexit.

It comes after Parliament voted last month for the PM to find alternatives to the current backstop arrangement.

The PM told Parliament she still believes it is possible to get a deal that MPs can support.

“By getting the changes we need to the backstop; by protecting and enhancing workers’ rights and environmental protections; and by enhancing the role of Parliament in the next phase of negotiations I believe we can reach a deal that this House can support,” she said.

Mrs May updated her cabinet on Tuesday morning about the talks with the EU and said it was “clear that these discussions with the EU will need a little more time to conclude”.

Speaking after a dinner with Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay on Monday night, EU negotiator Michel Barnier said the talks had been “constructive”, but added it was “clear from our side we’re not going to reopen the withdrawal agreement, but we will continue our discussions in the coming days”.

A statement from the Department for Exiting the European Union said Mr Barclay and Mr Barnier had agreed to further talks and their teams would continue to work in the meantime “on finding a way forward”.

Mr Barclay will be joined by Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington in Strasbourg on Tuesday for further talks with MEPs and a meeting with the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt. Read more

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Brexit: Theresa May promises meaningful vote after more talks with EU