UK ministers think May's Brexit plan is dead, seek alternatives

UK ministers think May's Brexit plan is dead, seek alternatives

A softer route to EU withdrawal, which was proposed by backbencher Nick Boles and backed by some Labour MPs, would see the United Kingdom take on temporary membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) and European Free Trade Association (Efta) alongside countries like Norway and Iceland while a future trade deal is negotiated.

Meanwhile, ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage has told the BBC that he thinks there might be another referendum.

"I'm a professional lip reader and she's saying 'it's too early for a round of Jäger Bombs, Jean-Claude.' And then he says 'fpshspghssfgppshshshs, '" Twitter user Olle7Ho wrote.

The government's most senior legal officer, Jonathan Jones, aims to secure a legally binding commitment that the backstop can be time-limited, which the PM hopes would deliver the necessary votes in a Commons vote on the deal.

With just over 100 days until Britain leaves the bloc on March 29, Brexit remains up in the air with growing calls for a no-deal exit, a potentially disorderly divorce that business fears would be highly damaging, or for a second referendum.

His comments come as Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said it is still possible to get "a version" of Mrs May's Brexit deal approved by Parliament.

On December 10, she confirmed she would be cancelling a landmark parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal, originally scheduled for December 11, amid widespread opposition to its central tenets.

'Our UK friends need to say what they want, instead of asking us to say what we want, ' he said.

"We need to get on with it".

She said that the country "will face serious trouble" if MPs "dig in against the prime minister's deal".

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was time "to stop this pretence" and "bring the vote to Parliament".

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"So we would like, within a few weeks, our United Kingdom friends to set out their expectations for us because this debate is sometimes nebulous and imprecise and I would like clarifications".

Mr Farage added the treatment of Mrs May in Brussels this week had been a "shaming moment" for both the United Kingdom and the European Union and that the PM's Brexit deal was now "dead".

May said: "We will be holding talks in coming days about how to obtain the further assurances that the UK Parliament needs in order to be able to approve the deal".

Media captionA quiet word in your ear.but what did Theresa May say to EU's Juncker?

She confirmed she had a "robust" discussion with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and insisted she had been "crystal clear" about the UK's need for firmer assurances that the backstop can not become permanent.

"And what came out of that was his clarity that actually he'd been talking - when he used that particular phrase - he'd been talking about a general level of debate", she said.

He described the talks as "a welcome first step that was the removal of uncertainty" over the EU's intentions, because it has shown it wants a "speedy United Kingdom trade deal" that would remove the need for the backstop in the first place.

At a later press conference, Mr Juncker described Mrs May as a "good friend" who he admired as a "woman of courage".

Britain leaves the club of 28 countries on March 29 and May is battling to save the agreement she's negotiated with the European Union from being killed off by opponents in Parliament.

Theresa May privately warned Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel that the Brexit deal is dead unless they compromise, after European leaders rebuffed her requests for help selling the agreement to politicians in London.

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