British Prime Minister Theresa May in last-ditch bid to win support
The commitment is an attempt to gain backing from opposition Labour Party MPs, who suspect the government plans to reduce the protections after Britain leaves the EU.
May’s deal has drawn opposition from both pro-EU and pro-Brexit lawmakers, and is facing likely defeat in Parliament today.
The prime minister used a speech yesterday to argue that the only alternatives to her deal were leaving the EU in March without an agreement, or reversing voters’ decision to leave the bloc. May said that a no-deal Brexit would hurt the British economy and “put the future of our Union at risk”, while failing to leave the EU would be “a subversion of the democratic process”.
Meanwhile, Manfred Weber, a German conservative who heads the biggest group in the European Parliament, has urged British MPs to “behave responsibly” and approve the UK’s divorce deal with the EU.
Weber said yesterday: “We ask, we invite our British colleagues to behave responsibly and vote for this agreement.”
A vote in the UK Parliament was expected today. Many British MPs object to the agreement between Brussels and May, raising fears that Britain may leave the EU on March 29 without a deal in place.
Weber said that MPs in London should accept the “extended hand” of their colleagues on the continent.
He said the European Parliament would approve the agreement.
Weber also slammed the far-right Alternative for Germany party’s threat to quit the EU, saying this could cause “a situation like in London today - economic instability and political chaos”.
The British government has published a letter from EU leaders that it hopes will ease UK MPs’ worries over the Brexit agreement between Britain and the bloc.
The letter to May from European Council president Donald Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker offered an assurance that the most contentious part of the deal - the “backstop” insurance policy to maintain an open border between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland - was intended as a temporary measure and “would only be in place for as long as strictly necessary”.
But the letter also reiterates the bloc’s refusal to renegotiate the divorce deal. The two men say “we are not in a position to agree to anything that changes or is inconsistent with the Withdrawal Agreement”. AP