British PM May considering amending Good Friday deal to solve Brexit deadlock


It is a sign of the odd times we live in that Theresa May's Brexit deal is still viewed by many as the most likely route through to securing the UK's departure from the European Union.

May is due to tell parliament on Monday how she intends to proceed on Brexit.

Two groups of MPs are expected to table bills which could take a no-deal Brexit off the table, and potentially suspend Article 50 - which allows the United Kingdom to leave the EU.

Many people within and outside of Parliament are trying to make sure Britain does not "accidentally" leave without a deal on March 29, a scenario that a number of peak bodies have warned will be catastrophic for people across the UK which includes voices from the Council for British Industries (CBI), Universities UK, the British Chambers of Commerce, among others.

May's government then survived a confidence vote on Wednesday and set about talks with figures from rival parties.

Demonstrating the divide in public opinion, the next most popular option, supported by 24% of the public, is to start the process of holding a second referendum.

But shadow Brexit secretary Kier Starmer suggested that the Labour leadership could be warming to a second Brexit referendum, saying the party was in the "third phase" of its policy.

"By delaying that vote she lost five and a half weeks and didn't even come back with any changes".

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May's Downing Street office has called them "extremely concerning".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel - who is taking a more flexible approach on the timing of any extension - indicated on Saturday that she wants to help Britain secure an orderly exit.

Starmer said there was a roadblock in the way of a solution to the Brexit crisis, "and that roadblock is the Prime Minister".

Parliament can not be allowed to hijack Brexit, Trade Minister Liam Fox said on Sunday, in a warning to lawmakers who want to take more control over Britain's departure from the European Union.

The plan is favoured by some hard Brexiters, including the former cabinet minister Owen Paterson, and was given some weight by Fox who said he favoured a "different mechanism" to prevent a hard border. Irish sources said the government would reject any approach from May for a bilateral side deal, calling the idea a "non-starter" and that the European Union was "very clear" the withdrawal agreement could not be reopened unless May changed her red lines. It is a bit of a mystery to me what the British government wants to negotiate with Dublin or what sort of an additional agreement it should be. Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney, however, tweeted that the Irish government was committed to the entire withdrawal deal, "including the backstop".

He said it was in Ireland's interests to help Britain leave the European Union with a deal, saying they would be far more hurt by a no-deal Brexit that Britain as most of their trade comes through the UK.

Sir Keir said: "I think it is inevitable, I don't think we can get what needs to be done in the next 68 days and the blame for that lies with the prime minister".