May to meet Juncker in Strasbourg ahead of ‘meaningful vote’ in Commons

EPA-EFE//ANDY RAIN

British Prime Minister Theresa May departs Downing Street for a Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London, 11 March 2019.

May to meet Juncker in Strasbourg ahead of ‘meaningful vote’ in Commons


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UK Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker late Monday, on the eve of a second vote on the previously rejected EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement, which was trounced in the British House of Commons in January.

May will meet with Juncker in French city of Strasbourg where the European Parliament meets this week and the European Commission will host its weekly College meeting.

The EU and the UK have, according to sources, concluded technical discussions on putting together a text that will pass through the Commission’s written procedure once the Monday meeting concludes.

An EU spokesman said at the midday briefing in Brussels that the EU is willing to meet UK negotiators at any time, adding, “We are committed to using our best endeavours to find a subsequent agreement that replaces the backstop… We are committed to ratifying this deal before 29 March,” added the spokesperson in reference to the so-called ‘Irish backstop’ – the insurance policy designed to ensure that the Irish border remains open once Britain leaves the EU.

Whatever the outcome of the Strasbourg meeting, May and the Withdrawal Agreement will face another “meaningful vote” in the House of Commons on Tuesday. If the agreement is once more rejected, a second vote will follow on Wednesday on whether the UK should choose the no-deal Brexit scenario. If that no-deal option is rejected, the next Commons vote will be to request that the 29 March Brexit date be pushed back for an undetermined amount of time.

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