Britain wants additional time for amendments to the BRICEST agreement

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LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Teresa Mae will offer MPs extra time to negotiate with Brussels on amendments to the BRICCAST agreement, a British minister said on Sunday.


LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Teresa Mae will offer MPs extra time to negotiate with Brussels on amendments to the BRICCAST agreement, a British minister said on Sunday.


The United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union on March 29, but it is still unclear how this historic divorce could be completed after British lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected a May 15 deal with Brussels for months.

Mai is also trying to get concessions from Brussels to win the parliament's support for the exit deal, but talks with Europeans are always stymied by Ireland's "safety net" clause.

While the House of Commons will consider Thursday the strategy to be followed, housing minister James Bruckenshire told the BBC on Sunday that the government would propose to the parliament that it again discuss various options for BRICCAST until the end of February if a new agreement fails.

That is a way for the government to maintain its control over the BRICEST process.

The government has proposed that MPs vote on Thursday on the future path to be taken by BRICEST, in case of failure to reach a new agreement by Wednesday.

"Certainly, we will have a parliamentary debate next week, with a proposal to be presented, an important proposal that the government will put forward," Brookingshire said.

"But I think it is also important that the government be allowed to make another proposal if there is no (new) vote on the (Precast) agreement before Feb. 27," he said.

The Labor Party, the country's main opposition, denounced what it saw as manipulation by the government to gain time in order to force MPs to accept one of the two options: exit by the Teresa Mae agreement or exit without agreement, a scenario rejected by the economic community.

The official in charge of Labor's Labor Party file said that Teresa May "claims that she is making progress while in fact playing the game of time," in an interview with The Sunday Times.

"Parliament has to say next week, that's enough, and take over what's going on."

 May also responded to a letter sent to her by the leader of the Labor Party, Jeremy Corbin, and assured her that his party would support the divorce agreement with Brussels if it included some conditions, especially the survival of the United Kingdom in a customs union with the European Union.

Mai responded to Corbin's letter like that, proposing further talks with Labor in this regard, especially to discuss "alternative arrangements" to resolve Ireland's safety net problem.

The safety net clause was introduced into the BRICEST agreement as a last resort to avoid a return of borders on the island of Ireland between the Republic of Ireland, a member of the European Union and the British Northern Territory of Northern Ireland.

This provision stipulates that the United Kingdom shall remain in a customs union with the European Union and that the British Northern Ireland Province shall remain within the Common European Commodity Market in order to avoid any customs control and physical boundaries between the two parts of the island of Ireland.
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