Brexit: MP's Offered Vote To Delay Article 50

Prime Minister Theresa May has promised her MP's a vote on delaying Brexit, while DUP Leader Arlene Foster has warned that the experience of Northern Ireland proves extending the deadline does not secure progress towards a deal.

As it stands, the UK is set to leave the EU on Friday 29 March, but in a statement to the House of Commons on Tuesday, 26 February, Theresa May offered MP's a chance to vote to delay if her deal is rejected again next month.

Following talks with the Prime Minister in London, Mrs Foster said that Northern Ireland's past shows an extended deadline will do nothing to encourage a deal.

She commented: "A no deal outcome can be avoided and it can be agreed long before the 29th March. The European Union have it in their hands to avoid such an outcome. They know exactly what is required to achieve a deal which Parliament can support. It's time for Dublin and Brussels to be in a deal-making mode."

Meanwhile, Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann has said a delay to leaving the EU may be the best option if it ultimately results in agreement.
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He explained: "The Ulster Unionist Party has previously called for an extension to Article 50 and it seems the Prime minister has been listening. If it ensures we get a deal, then a short extension is unfortunate but worth it in the end. We want to see the Referendum result honoured but, with a deal for Northern Ireland that does not include the backstop which undermines the Belfast Agreement and the principle of consent."

The MLA for north Antrim continued: "The Brexit which the DUP promised will not be delivered by the present proposals. What we are facing is the ongoing jurisdiction of the European Court; inability for UK to negotiate and implement trade deals with third countries; goods from England coming to Northern Ireland to be treated as if they were from 3rd country; a top heavy series of committees effectively running Northern Ireland with no input from here. The UK will be a rule taker from EU with no representation."

After the Prime Minister's deal was overwhelmingly rejected by MP's in January, she has been trying to seek assurances from the EU to rally the support of Parliament.

The UK remains in talks with Brussels over the Irish backstop policy, which aims to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. MP's have been assured they will get to vote again on the deal by 12 March, just 17 days before the divorce deadline.


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