The UK will take a few days to formulate some proposals to put to the European Union in an attempt to resolve the issue of Irish border arrangements after Brexit, Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt said on Thursday. "We will put those proposals together".
United Kingdom prime minister Theresa May is trying to drum up political support from the opposition party Labour for her Brexit deal by promising to give a cash injection into the Leave-voting deprived areas they represent.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker addressed the European Parliament to push home the message that the withdrawal agreement would not be re-negotiated. She held telephone calls with EU President Donald Tusk and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar late on Wednesday.
"But we still don't know what exactly the House of Commons is for".
May's Brexit deal was emphatically rejected by Parliament on January 15, and in a vote Tuesday she won a mandate to go back to Brussels to change it before returning to Parliament for another try.
They are a time limit, a unilateral exit mechanism and alternative technological arrangements put to her by Tory backbenchers last week.
The EU does not want to reopen talks that it believes would be a waste of time when it could instead be getting on with preparing for the fallout of no deal.
"Rejecting the backstop altogether means no deal", she said at the time.
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As the U.K. will leave the bloc, the border between Northern Ireland - a U.K. territory - and the Republic of Ireland will remain the only land border between the U.K. and the EU. "They are not well-versed in details on the EU's functions - but have dominated the public debate and discussions within the Conservative Party".
In his comments on the radio, Hunt said it was "difficult to know" if negotiations would be taking place right till the end of March, adding he thought there had been a change in his country's political climate in recent days.
There was growing anxiety among pro-People's Vote Labour MPs this week that their leader Jeremy Corbyn is close to throwing his support behind a revised version of May's deal with the EU.
Mrs May's trip to Liverpool saw her unable to answer an urgent question in the House of Commons from Mr Corbyn on what progress she had made in achieving legal changes to her Brexit deal. Britain is due to leave on March 29.
Tuesday night's votes included the passing of an amendment tabled by Sir Graham Brady calling for Prime Minister Theresa May to go back to the European Union to require "alternative arrangements" to the backstop.
Her spokesman said May had no immediate plans to restart negotiations, or travel to Brussels, partly because Downing Street's strategy continues to be to hope that European Union leaders will reflect on her call to reopen the withdrawal agreement to remove the backstop, which the European Union says is integral to a deal.
"Clearly, there has to be investment in those communities, but the Brexit plan proposed by Theresa May doesn't solve that any more than the Government's austerity programme is going to solve any of that".
And despite the amendments voted through on Tuesday, the British government has so failed to clarify what kind of deal it thinks would be acceptable to a majority of MPs.