Raw Politics: Theresa May promises she won't leave Northern Ireland behind

Raw Politics: Theresa May promises she won't leave Northern Ireland behind

Raw Politics: Theresa May promises she won't leave Northern Ireland behind

As Brussels waits for Britain to set out its plans, diplomats and officials in the rest of the European Union are increasingly expecting a delay to Brexit, due to take place on March 29.

On Monday, Business Secretary Greg Clark warned Parliament's failure to agree on Brexit is holding back investment in the United Kingdom, after Nissan Motor Co. abandoned plans to expand production in the United Kingdom.

But she refused to say if the deal would have to be renegotiated or if she would accept legally binding assurances.

"These emergency evacuation plans have been in existence since the Cold War, but have now been repurposed in the event of civil disorder following a no-deal Brexit", Britain's The Sunday Times said, quoting an unnamed source from the government's Cabinet Office, which handles sensitive administrative issues.

"The prime minister said that our objective now was to secure a legally binding way of guaranteeing we can not be trapped indefinitely in the backstop", the spokesperson said following a meeting with May's cabinet.

Anger has centred on Mrs May's call for fresh negotiations with Brussels over the contentious Irish backstop plan.

But the DUP's Emma Little-Pengelly welcomed the Prime Minister's visit and the fact that she would be returning to Brussels "to seek change which can address our objections to the draft withdrawal agreement".

The European Union will not renegotiate the divorce deal and the Irish backstop, but alternatives could be worked on after Britain leaves, chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier said on Monday.

"But we will find a way to deliver Brexit that honours our commitments to Northern Ireland, that commands broad support across the community in Northern Ireland and that secures a majority in the Westminster Parliament, which is the best way to deliver for the people of Northern Ireland".

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Parliament rejected her deal last month - overwhelmingly.

The plans would include Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh moved out of London to a secret location, which The Sunday Times said it has agreed not to disclose.

Merkel said questions about the backstop could be discussed in the so-called political agreement that accompanies the Brexit deal, adding: "We need to show creativity, we need to listen to each other".

Alliance deputy leader Stephen Farry said that with just 51 days to Brexit, the Prime Minister had no viable policy to avoid a hard border.

Mark Francois, vice-chairman of the European Research Group of Brexiteer MPs, said that given the importance of the agreement, he would "like to think that every MP who has voted on it [the withdrawal agreement] has taken the time to read it first".

On Tuesday, May gave a speech in Belfast, where she pledged to not leave Northern Ireland behind during her discussions in Brussels. She told an audience in Belfast that her commitment to avoiding such an arrangement was "unshakeable".

In London, May has invited hardline eurosceptics and Remain supporters within her Conservative Party to come up with possible alternatives to the backstop.

She will meet Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props her minority government and which opposes the current backstop agreement.

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