Furious ministers give May TWO WEEK ‘high noon’ ultimatum to win concessions from Brussels or they will join FRESH Remainer bid to force choice between no deal and delaying Brexit
-Theresa May is scrambling to find a way through the deepening Brexit deadlock
-The PM has appealed for MPs to give her more time to get concessions from EU
-Mrs May refused to rule out a final vote on her deal being delayed until March
-Michel Barnier has insisted the EU will not reopen the Withdrawal Agreement
-Remainer MPs have effectively accepted May should have two more weeks
Theresa May is facing ‘high noon’ on Brexit in two weeks as Remain MPs launched a new attempt to avoid no deal.
The Prime Minister will address Parliament amid mounting fears MPs will be forced to make a decision just days before the UK leaves the EU on March 29.
Such a last-minute showdown would force wavering Labour MPs to make a choice between Mrs May’s unpopular deal and a disastrous No Deal Brexit .
Today the Food and Drink Federation ramped up pressure – warning food firms could face extinction within six weeks in No Deal, and branding Brexit the worst threat since 1939.
But with 45 days left, Mrs May is expected to plead for more time in her House of Commons statement at 12.30pm – immediately after a meeting of the Tory Cabinet.
The Prime Minister will describe negotiations between Brussels and Dublin over the “backstop” clause – which could trap the UK in EU customs rules, in order to keep the Irish border open.
Downing Street said the statement, which comes a day earlier than expected, will give MPs more time to “digest the content” ahead of a series of expected Commons votes on Thursday.
Mrs May is expected to say: “The talks are at a crucial stage. We now all need to hold our nerve to get the changes this House has required and deliver Brexit on time.
“By getting the changes we need to the backstop; by protecting and enhancing workers’ rights and environmental protections; and by enhancing the role of Parliament in the next phase of negotiations I believe we can reach a deal that this House can support.”
Votes on her statement this Thursday are non-binding and are widely expected to be a flop.
Instead all eyes are on the “meaningful vote” on a revised 585-page Brexit deal – which isn’t expected until next month.
Labour was due to force Mrs May to hold an earlier ‘meaningful vote’ on her deal, but reports today suggest that is fizzling out.
And today top Tory Andrea Leadsom refused to guarantee the vote will happen before an EU summit on March 21.
In a bombshell admission, the Leader of the Commons twice refused to rule out a high-stakes showdown from Monday 25 March, after the summit and four days before the UK leaves.
Instead she told BBC Radio 4: “Well the PM is seeking to bring back the meaningful vote just as soon as possible.
“It is a negotiation, it’s not possible to predict the future, but the meaningful vote will come back to Parliament as soon as the issue around the backstop has been sorted out.”
She said talks were going “flat out” and insisted: “It’s not running down the clock”. But she did not rule it out.
She did, however, claimed the Prime Minister had “absolutely” ruled out a customs union with the EU – days after Mrs May left the possibility open in a compromise letter to Jeremy Corbyn .
Ms Leadsom also insisted laws will be passed in time by Brexit Day despite widespread warnings they will not.
“Those that need to be passed by 29 March, I’m confident will be passed,” she said.
Talks are continuing apace between the UK and EU, with Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and Mrs May’s de facto deputy, David Lidington, meeting MEPs in Strasbourg today.
On the second leg today Mr Barclay will meet irascible EU Parliament Brexit chief Guy Verhofstadt in Strasbourg.
The government described a dinner between Mr Barclay and EU negotiator Michel Barnier last night as “constructive”.
But Mr Barnier’s message earlier in the day yesterday was uncompromising, saying “Something has to give on the British side” and “We are not going to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement”.
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