Theresa May Promises U.K. Lawmakers Brexit Vote by February 27

Theresa May in Brussels More

Britain is due to leave the European Union on March 29, but lawmakers in Parliament have emphatically rejected Mrs May's divorce deal, raising the prospect of a no-deal exit from the bloc unless more parliamentary support is found.

Japan has sought to extract hefty concessions from Britain before Brexit, while talks with many nations have been delayed by the lack of clarity over Britain's future trading relationship with the EU.

British lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected May's withdrawal deal last month, with the major sticking point being the Irish "backstop" - an insurance policy to prevent the return of a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

But senior backbench Conservative Party member of Parliament Boris Johnson, a strong supporter of a hard exit from the European Union, told Radio 4's Today program May should stop exchanging letters with Corbyn and focus on renegotiating the Irish backstop portion of the proposed withdrawal deal, which has been its most contentious component.

Speaking to BBC radio Monday morning, Johnson said: "The argument is now about how to get out of the backstop". And how to make sure that the United Kingdom isn't locked in that prison of the customs union.

Jeremy Corbyn said he believes Theresa May might try to run out of the clock on a Brexit deal. The backstop is the main obstacle to securing agreement on the terms of Britain's withdrawal from the EU.

He said Mrs May's agreement would achieve most of Mr Corbyn's goals without preventing independent trade deals.

Mrs May does not agree, and wrote: "I am not clear why you believe it would be preferable to seek a say in future European Union trade deals rather than the ability to strike our own deals?"

Liz Truss, the chief secretary to the Treasury, refused on Sunday to rule out resigning from the Cabinet if May switches position and backs a customs union.

She said it was possible to pass bills "quite quickly" with "goodwill" from the Commons and Lords, but added: "It's just not possible to say how quickly it could be done, but obviously it depends on the way in which there is adequate debate on the meaningful vote and that's what the Prime Minister is determined to do".

That might mean that she's back before the end of this month with something concrete to vote on.

Corbyn had earlier laid out five Labour Party conditions for supporting any revised Brexit deal.

May is already due to update parliament on her progress towards a deal on Wednesday and then on Thursday to give parliament a chance to express their opinion. Question marks linger over the departure date as Theresa May still struggles to strike a negotiated deal that can win the backing of parliament.

In the meantime, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay has been meeting members of the Alternative Arrangements Working Group of Tories drawn from all sides of the party who have been seeking a compromise solution to avoid the need for the controversial backstop.

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