Theresa May seeks a deal in Strasbourg as Brexit crunch looms
LONDON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May rushed to Strasbourg on Monday to seek a tweaked withdrawal deal from the European Union in a last-ditch effort to avoid another humiliating defeat in parliament of her plan to exit the bloc.
Just 18 days before the United Kingdom is due to leave the EU, there is still no ratified divorce deal and talks with the bloc stalled over the weekend as May was unable to break the political deadlock in London.
In a day of frenetic diplomacy ahead of a Tuesday parliamentary vote on her deal, May met European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasbourg in an effort to find a way through the Brexit maze.
After May rejected a Brexit compromise hashed out in Brussels on Saturday, she left for Strasbourg on Monday.
“Please don’t assume this points to a deal,” a British official said. “It means there is basis for a further face to face discussion as part of the talks.”
May’s spokesman said a “meaningful” parliamentary vote on her deal would go ahead, even though talks with the EU are deadlocked.
The two sides are discussing assurances on the so-called Irish backstop, an insurance policy aimed to prevent the return of a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and a possible unilateral statement from Britain.