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16 Jan, 2019 08:17

Risk of 'no deal' Brexit has never been so high - EU negotiator Barnier

Risk of 'no deal' Brexit has never been so high - EU negotiator Barnier

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has told the European Parliament that the risk of no deal on Brexit has never been higher, and that he fears “more than ever” a chaotic UK departure from the bloc.

Barnier hinted that the EU is ready to renegotiate a new deal on Britain exiting the EU if London is willing to give way on some of the pre-existing ‘red lines’ hammered out in the previous, now defeated, Brexit plan put forth by embattled Prime Minister Theresa May.

Also on rt.com Theresa May’s Brexit plan rejected by British parliament

The EU negotiator did, however, insist that preventing a physical border on the island of Ireland was non-negotiable.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which is currently just about propping up May’s minority government, does not view an Article 50 extension as necessary.

“I don’t think [an extension of Article 50] is inevitable, and it’s not in my view necessary because the EU can act when it wants to,” DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said, as quoted by Reuters. “On the [Irish] backstop, people want to see that we are not trapped into it.”

Conservative British MP and Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom stated that she believes Prime Minister Theresa May will survive Wednesday’s no-confidence vote, reiterating that the government has been engaging with opposition party leadership on the Brexit issue.

Leadsom added that all parties must find a way to salvage May’s original deal, in part at least, or find an alternative to put to the EU as quickly as possible.

“The prime minister will then not necessarily be looking for brand new ideas that no one has thought of before, but actually seeking a consensus, actually a fresh initiative to find a solution that is negotiable with the European Union and that would command a majority in the House of Commons,” Leadsom said.

The Tory was steadfast in rejecting claims that the current British government would not delay Article 50, and that while a ‘no-deal’ Brexit is not ideal, it is, however, the legal default in a worst-case scenario.

Also on rt.com May will survive no-confidence vote, but only because there's little choice – analysts

Meanwhile, Belgium’s Guy Verhofstadt has called for all parties to “come out of the trenches” and agree a common policy position on Brexit, but said that Britain must offer more leeway on its “red line” issues in the negotiations. 

Verhofstadt also stated that it would be unwise to extend Article 50 beyond the upcoming EU parliamentary elections.

His comments came just one day after the British Parliament decisively struck down May’s draft Brexit deal on Tuesday by 432 votes to 202 – a record margin of 230.

No sooner had the votes been cast than opposition and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn tabled a no confidence motion against May’s Tory government in the House of Commons. If defeated, May would have just 14 days in office, after which a second confidence vote would take place which could, in turn, trigger a general election.

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