UK Brexit vote set for January 15 as MPs oppose 'no deal' scenario
SEE ALSO :Crocheting myself to a ‘knit’ fortuneBut she is still struggling to convince both opposition lawmakers and her own Conservative party to back the divorce agreement she hammered out with Brussels, which has heightened fears Britain could leave the European Union on March 29 without a deal. She has promised to secure further assurances from the EU on the most controversial elements of the Brexit deal relating to Northern Ireland, and has held talks with European leaders in recent days. "The work to secure those assurances is ongoing," her spokesman said, adding that the prime minister hoped to have something to offer MPs before next week's vote. May is hosting several drinks parties for lawmakers this week in a bid to win them round, arguing her deal is the best compromise that ends EU membership while protecting jobs. Environment Secretary Michael Gove told cabinet colleagues that critics holding out for a better deal were like swingers in their mid-50s waiting for Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson to turn up on a date.
SEE ALSO :How to set up an online shop for freeBut with opposition among MPs still strong, there is growing speculation London could seek to delay the EU's two-year Article 50 exit process to allow more time to get the deal through parliament. An EU diplomatic source told AFP that "we are convinced that Theresa May will request a postponement if the agreement is rejected in the British parliament." But May's spokesman insisted: "We will not be extending Article 50. "There are people in the European Union who are discussing this issue, but that is not the position of the UK government." - 'Very hypothetical' -
SEE ALSO :Starting an interior design businessThe other 27 EU leaders have repeatedly said they will not reopen the deal struck with Britain in November, which covers key separation issues such as money and expatriate citizens' rights. But they issued a joint statement at an EU summit last month emphasising the temporary nature of the so-called backstop arrangement designed to keep open the UK border with Ireland after Brexit. And Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told the Irish Times there were discussions on whether the EU could offer "a further set of written guarantees, explanations and assurances". The backstop would keep open the border between British Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland after Brexit by temporarily aligning Britain with EU trade rules. Eurosceptic Conservatives and Northern Ireland's tiny Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up May's government, fear it could tie London to Brussels for years to come.