London mayor urges Brexit delay to break divorce deal deadlock

EU's Tusk says Brexit deadline extension a 'rational solution'

But if she fails, she has promised MPs votes on March 13 and March 14 on whether to leave the bloc without a deal, and if not, to seek a short delay.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has urged Prime Minister Theresa May to delay Britain's departure from the European Union, warning time has run out to rework her withdrawal agreement.

Recalling that there was "very little time left" before the 29 March deadline, Barnier said it was time for the British Government and Parliament to assume their responsibilities and the consequences of the choices they have made.

But the House of Commons on Jan 15 overwhelmingly rejected the deal, sending the prime minister back to Brussels to change its arrangements for the Irish border.

While the European Union and Britain are working on "clarifications", Barnier stressed anew that "we are not going to change the backstop and ... we are not going to reopen the withdrawal agreement".

Theresa May's pledge to protect workers' rights after Brexit could persuade up to 70 Labour MPs to back her deal, it was claimed last night. Poland's criticism of the Irish backstop found little endorsement in the region, according to European policy academic Monika Brusenbauch Meislova, highlighting May's forlorn task in trying to find cracks in the EU's united front.

MPs also voted by 324 votes to 288 against a Scottish National Party motion to avoid "no deal".

Lawmakers rejected a bid Wednesday by the main opposition Labour Party to force the government to embrace its alternative Brexit plan, which calls for retaining close ties with the EU.

In a letter responding to his resignation, Mrs May said: "I agree with you that Parliament must now come together and honour the referendum result by voting for a deal which will give businesses and citizens the certainty they need and deserve".

In a statement, Mr Grayling said: "The agreement with Eurotunnel secures the Government's additional freight capacity, helping ensure that the NHS has essential medicines in the event of a no-deal Brexit". Defra has phenomenal expertise and, more than any other government department, has embraced the opportunities posed by our exit from the EU.

Governments in European Union countries, as well as in Britain, have warned of potential disruption to trade and travel.

Madrid is also offering continuing free care in the Spanish public health service to British residents for a 21-month period after Brexit, if Britain offers the same to Spaniards.

The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said Britain would have to have a good reason.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the European Union would agree to extend the Brexit deadline only if Britain justified such a request with a clear objective.

"It is high time that we can spend our energy on more positive projects and the in depth reforms Europe desperately needs".

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