As it happenedended1548924478

Brexit: EU negotiator and Council chief tell Theresa May deal is not open for renegotiation

Follow how the day at Westminster unfolded

Samuel Osborne
Wednesday 30 January 2019 14:33
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May vows to renegotiate Brexit agreement with EU after Commons vote

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator told Theresa May time was too short to find an alternative to the Irish border arrangement agreed in their Brexit deal and said the divorce deal was not open for renegotiation.

Michel Barnier told France's RTL radio the two-year divorce negotiations had looked for an alternative to the "Irish backstop", designed to ensure the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland remains free of border posts.

"No one, on either side, was able to say what arrangement would be needed to ensure controls on goods, animals and merchandise without having a border," Mr Barnier said. "We have neither the time, nor the technologies."

After a relatively successful night for Ms May during which the government defeated a number of attempts by MPs to secure control of the Brexit process, she will now have the Herculean task of convincing EU leaders to reopen talks.

MPs approved an amendment tabled by Sir Graham Brady by 317 votes to 301 to accept Ms May’s Brexit deal as long as an alternative to the backstop could be found.

But the response from Europe was united and blunt.

"The Withdrawal Agreement is not open for renegotiation," European Council president Donald Tusk tweeted in what he said was a message to Ms May.

"Yesterday, we found out what the UK doesn't want. But we still don't know what the UK does want."

Jeremy Corbyn has said Labour MPs who defied the whip in yesterday’s votes “will be dealt with”, as he holds talks with Ms May on how the Brexit negotiations should move forward.

Mr Corbyn met with the prime minister to discuss how a conensus could be reached on the Brexit negotiations only weeks after he had rejected Ms May’s initial invitiation.

Follow how the day at Westminster unfolded

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Welcome to The Independent's coverage of the day's political events.

Shehab.Khan30 January 2019 07:52
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Quick recap of what happened last night: 

  • Theresa May defeated a number of attempts by MPs to secure control of the Brexit process.
  • Government secured a key victory whereby MPs will accept Ms May's Brexit deal as long as an alternative to the backstop could be found. 
  • MPs did however vote to take no-deal off the table.
  • Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn agreed to meet with Theresa May to hold Brexit talks. 
  • EU leaders ruled out reopening the negotiations. 
Shehab.Khan30 January 2019 08:09
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Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of backtracking after initially refusing to meet Theresa May while no-deal remains a possibility. 

Barry Gardiner, the shadow international trade secretary, is refuting these accusations. 

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today he said: 

Jeremy always said that all she needed to do at this stage, she didn't need to actually physically remove it, she didn't need to pass legislation, she just needed to accept that that was the will of the House and that would be what happened.

Parliament yesterday explicitly said that they did not want no deal to happen and the Prime Minister, when it came to the summing-up after the debate, accepted that that was the will of the House.

She has said she will be coming back in two weeks' time, she hopes, with something from Europe, but there will be another opportunity at that stage if she has run down the clock further, for a legislative vehicle to then be put in place by Parliament to avoid no-deal."

Shehab.Khan30 January 2019 08:14
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Shehab.Khan30 January 2019 08:15
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BREAKING NEWS: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has accepted an invitation from Theresa May for talks on Brexit after Prime Minister's Questions.

Shehab.Khan30 January 2019 08:23
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Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay is on BBC Radio 4 this morning. Here's a brief summary of what he said: 

  • Britain will leave with no-deal if nothing is agreed by 29 March but this will be disruptive 
  • Alternatives to the backstop will be explored 
  • Theresa May will be meeting with Jeremy Corbyn later today
Shehab.Khan30 January 2019 08:28
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The head of the CBI has warned that British businesses are likely to accelerate their planning for a no-deal Brexit following the vote in parliament on Tuesday night that ordered the prime minister to renegotiate the divorce deal.

Carolyn Fairbairn said she did not think any company would have taken reassurance from the events on Tuesday, when lawmakers signalled they did not want to leave the European Union without a deal,

Shehab.Khan30 January 2019 08:31
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NHS trusts could "quickly run out of vital medical supplies" should the UK crash out of the European Union without a deal, a hospital boss has claimed.

Dr David Rosser, chief executive of the University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) NHS Foundation Trust, said the service could face a "completely unprecedented challenge" despite central stockpiling.

The points were raised in a memo to the UHB board of directors last week after being asked to draw up details on readiness for a no-deal Brexit.

Shehab.Khan30 January 2019 08:33
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Michel Barnier speaking in Brussels this morning said:

The position of the European Union is very clear.

It has been expressed yesterday by president (Donald) Tusk and president (Jean-Claude) Juncker will make a statement to the parliament this afternoon."

Shehab.Khan30 January 2019 08:35
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MEP Philippe Lamberts, who sits on the influential Brexit Steering Committee at the European Parliament has said that no deal is 'lesser of two evils'

Shehab.Khan30 January 2019 08:43

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