Theresa May Pledges £1.6b Fund For Brexit-backing Towns

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is seen outside of Downing Street in London Britain

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is seen outside of Downing Street in London Britain

She said: "After decades of neglect a one-off payment created to help the Prime Minister ahead of a key Brexit vote will fail, and it will confirm to people in our towns that the government is not serious in its commitment to our communities".

A committee of eight senior euroskeptics will scrutinize the government's revised backstop proposals, which Attorney General Geoffrey Cox is seeking to renegotiate in Brussels.

He added: "I will be working with our district council and the LEP (local enterprise partnership) to see if we can put together a bid for Selby".

With 25 days to go until Britain is due to leave the European Union, Mrs May is still battling to find a deal with the bloc that is acceptable to the British Parliament after her original agreement was rejected in a crushing defeat in January. It comes after Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of a pro-Brexit faction in May's Conservatives which set up the group, this week scaled back his opposition to her deal saying he would no longer insist that the backstop be removed.

The government is expecting the House of Commons vote on 12 March to be very close and United Kingdom officials say they are seeking to build a "sustainable" majority both on the "meaningful" vote on the Withdrawal Agreement and to pass the legislation that will accompany it.

She has promised to put a revised deal to the House of Commons by March 12, and if that is rejected, MPs will be offered votes on whether to exit the European Union without a deal or to delay Brexit.

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Reports have suggested that Cox, unable to secure a time limit or unilateral exit mechanism for the backstop, has shifted his focus to a beefed up system that would allow an independent body to decide on how the system would operate. The same also goes for employers in Northern Ireland and captains of industry from Canary Wharf to the retail sector.

The UK is prepared to be "flexible" over how to address concerns over the Northern Ireland backstop, Jeremy Hunt said as efforts continued to end the Brexit impasse. And there are a variety of views within the ERG itself, with some leading figures taking a more hardline approach than others.

May's gambit may prove to be counterproductive, as it has drawn criticism from Labour lawmakers who were reportedly considering breaking ranks with their party and backing the prime minister's Brexit deal. "Labour MPs must not be bought off by giving support to a damaging Tory Brexit deal, which we know would be devastating for jobs, living standards and the economy".

"Our ask of the European Union is an important ask", Mr Hunt said.

Although Nandy estimated that there were potentially 40 to 60 Labour rebels who could vote for May's deal, she described the number of those who would defy the whip to approve it now as "very small".

Labour's shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, was quick to brand the move a "desperate bribe", and pointed out that numerous towns in question are struggling because of the Conservatives' nearly decade-long austerity policy. And if you're going to overcome the legally binding terms of the treaty at present, then you've got to have a change in the treaty.

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