Close
Date TimeJanuary 29, 2019
VoicePM backs Graham Brady’s amendment, which seeks to replace backstop with ‘alternative arrangements’
Brexit: May to ask EU to reopen withdrawal agreement over Irish backstop
Theresa May has announced to the Commons that she plans to return to Brussels and seek to reopen the painstakingly negotiated withdrawal agreement so as to seek legally-binding changes to the Irish backstop.
The prime minister confirmed that the government would back an amendment tabled by senior Tory backbencher Sir Graham Brady, which seeks to replace the Irish backstop with “alternative arrangements”.
“This amendment will give the mandate I need to negotiate with Brussels an arrangement that commands a majority in this house,” she said, denying charges from some MPs that seeking to reopen a deal the EU has repeatedly insisted is final was to pursue “fantasies”.
“What I’m talking about is not a further exchange of letters, but a significant and legally-binding change to the withdrawal agreement,” May said. “Negotiating such a change will not be easy. It will involve reopening the withdrawal agreement, a move for which I know there is limited appetite among our European partners.”
May noted that MPs had voted down her initial deal and made it plain they did not want a no-deal departure or an election: “So the world knows what this house does not want. Today we need to send an emphatic message about what we do want.”
Challenged by the Labour MP Peter Kyle about why she was backing a plan which went against her own deal, May said this was because she had yielded to the views of MPs.
“Time and time again, members on the opposition benches have stood up and asked me to listen to this house,” she said. “Now I come to this house having listened to the house, and they say you shouldn’t have done it.”
Before May spoke the Speaker, John Bercow, said he had selected Brady’s amendment among seven to be voted on at 7pm, as well as one from the Tory MP Dominic Grieve seeking to push the government to hold indicative votes on the way forward, and the Labour MP Yvette Cooper’s proposal to stop no deal.
The prime minister said these two proposals were “deeply misguided”, and had significant consequences.
“Both amendments seek to create and exploit mechanisms that allow parliament to usurp the proper role of the executive,” she said. “Such actions would be unprecedented and would have far-reaching implications for the way the UK is governed and for the balance of powers and responsibilities in our democratic institutions.”
The others were an official Labour amendment, which calls for a customs union; an SNP plan seeking an extension to article 50; a cross-party plan to extend article 50 and another cross-party amendment advising against no deal.
May said that if no deal were sealed by 13 February, the government would table another statement setting out what the government plans to do next, which MPs would be able to amend, giving them another opportunity to reject a no-deal Brexit.
Downing Street had previously insisted that reopening the 585-page withdrawal agreement was unacceptable to the EU27, and risked other governments trying to push for fresh concessions on other issues, such as fisheries or the status of Gibraltar.
But May’s official spokesman said the prime minister had told her cabinet that, “in order to win the support of the House of Commons, legal changes to the backstop will be required. That will mean reopening the withdrawal agreement.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the chair of the backbench European Research Group, and the former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, had both demanded a clear statement from May that she was willing to reopen the fraught issue of the backstop.
“We need to go back into the text of the treaty and solve the problem. That is the way to unite remainers and leavers in the Conservative party and across the country,” Johnson said.
May confirmed she would potentially back the so-called “Malthouse compromise” – a proposal thrashed out by the housing minister Kit Malthouse together with both Brexit and remain-backing MPs.
Answering an intervention from the Conservative MP Nicky Morgan, one of those involved in the plan, May called it “a serious proposal that we’re engaging with sincerely and positively”.
The prime minister is expected to hold calls with EU leaders later on Tuesday, to clear the way for another round of negotiations.
Senior Conservatives anxious that the government is drifting towards a no-deal Brexit, including the business minister Richard Harrington, had demanded that May set a two-week deadline for securing a settlement.
Downing Street also reiterated the government’s objections to the amendment tabled by Cooper and the former Conservative minister Nick Boles, paving the way for an extension of article 50.
Labour announced on Tuesday that it would whip its MPs to support the Cooper-Boles amendment, despite fears among some frontbenchers that voters would regard it as a bid to thwart Brexit.

Related Stories
Brexiteer MPs say delay would be political calamityBrexiteer MPs say delay would be political calamity
Emmanuel Macron: Dear Europe, Brexit is a lesson for all of us: it’s time for renewalEmmanuel Macron: Dear Europe, Brexit is a lesson for all of us: it’s time for renewal
United States citizens will need a visa to visit Europe starting in 2021United States citizens will need a visa to visit Europe starting in 2021
Storm Gareth: warnings issued about power cuts and travel difficultiesStorm Gareth: warnings issued about power cuts and travel difficulties
Worried about Brexit? What, with these geniuses in charge? | Marina HydeWorried about Brexit? What, with these geniuses in charge? | Marina Hyde
UK parliament speaker does not select any amendments for Brexit voteUK parliament speaker does not select any amendments for Brexit vote
Government could ignore indicative Brexit votes, says Liam FoxGovernment could ignore indicative Brexit votes, says Liam Fox
Brexit: Legal risk of backstop remains unchanged says Geoffrey CoxBrexit: Legal risk of backstop remains 'unchanged' says Geoffrey Cox
May Day: UK Parliament rejects prime minister’s Brexit dealMay Day: UK Parliament rejects prime minister’s Brexit deal
Trick or treat? EU, UK agree to delay Brexit until HalloweenTrick or treat? EU, UK agree to delay Brexit until Halloween
News Trends
Beyoncé lands $60M deal with NetflixBeyoncé lands $60M deal with Netflix
Tesla’s Elon Musk could earn up to $2.2 billion from stock optionsTesla’s Elon Musk could earn up to $2.2 billion from stock options
Paris police use tear gas against yellow vest protestersParis police use tear gas against 'yellow vest' protesters
Adele announces separation from husband Simon KoneckiAdele announces separation from husband Simon Konecki
Elizabeth Warren says House should start impeachment proceedings for TrumpElizabeth Warren says House should start impeachment proceedings for Trump
Michelle Williams and her husband, musician Phil Elverum, have splitMichelle Williams and her husband, musician Phil Elverum, have split
These Wisps Around Black Holes Could Reveal How the Cosmic Beasts EatThese Wisps Around Black Holes Could Reveal How the Cosmic Beasts Eat
Boyz n the Hood director John Singleton suffers stroke: report'Boyz n the Hood' director John Singleton suffers stroke: report
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez wants ONE thing to STAY - Michael Owen reveals what hes heardNewcastle boss Rafa Benitez wants ONE thing to STAY - Michael Owen reveals what he's heard
Johnny Depp Allegedly Tried to Get Amber Heard Fired From AquamanJohnny Depp Allegedly Tried to Get Amber Heard Fired From Aquaman
Leaders
Donald-TrumpDonald Trump
45th President of the United States of America
Mike-PenceMike Pence
Vice President of the United States
Theresa-MayTheresa May
British Prime Minister
Angela-MerkelAngela Merkel
Chancellor of Germany
Emmanuel-MacronEmmanuel Macron
President of France
Justin-TrudeauJustin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
Nancy-PelosiNancy Pelosi
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Barack-ObamaBarack Obama
44th U.S. President
Vladimir-PutinVladimir Putin
Russian President
Shinzo-AbeShinzō Abe
Prime Minister of Japan
Related Stories
Brexiteer MPs say delay would be political calamityBrexiteer MPs say delay would be political calamity
Emmanuel Macron: Dear Europe, Brexit is a lesson for all of us: it’s time for renewalEmmanuel Macron: Dear Europe, Brexit is a lesson for all of us: it’s time for renewal
United States citizens will need a visa to visit Europe starting in 2021United States citizens will need a visa to visit Europe starting in 2021
Storm Gareth: warnings issued about power cuts and travel difficultiesStorm Gareth: warnings issued about power cuts and travel difficulties
Worried about Brexit? What, with these geniuses in charge? | Marina HydeWorried about Brexit? What, with these geniuses in charge? | Marina Hyde
UK parliament speaker does not select any amendments for Brexit voteUK parliament speaker does not select any amendments for Brexit vote
Government could ignore indicative Brexit votes, says Liam FoxGovernment could ignore indicative Brexit votes, says Liam Fox
Brexit: Legal risk of backstop remains unchanged says Geoffrey CoxBrexit: Legal risk of backstop remains 'unchanged' says Geoffrey Cox
May Day: UK Parliament rejects prime minister’s Brexit dealMay Day: UK Parliament rejects prime minister’s Brexit deal
Trick or treat? EU, UK agree to delay Brexit until HalloweenTrick or treat? EU, UK agree to delay Brexit until Halloween
News Trends
Beyoncé lands $60M deal with NetflixBeyoncé lands $60M deal with Netflix
Tesla’s Elon Musk could earn up to $2.2 billion from stock optionsTesla’s Elon Musk could earn up to $2.2 billion from stock options
Paris police use tear gas against yellow vest protestersParis police use tear gas against 'yellow vest' protesters
Adele announces separation from husband Simon KoneckiAdele announces separation from husband Simon Konecki
Elizabeth Warren says House should start impeachment proceedings for TrumpElizabeth Warren says House should start impeachment proceedings for Trump
Michelle Williams and her husband, musician Phil Elverum, have splitMichelle Williams and her husband, musician Phil Elverum, have split
These Wisps Around Black Holes Could Reveal How the Cosmic Beasts EatThese Wisps Around Black Holes Could Reveal How the Cosmic Beasts Eat
Boyz n the Hood director John Singleton suffers stroke: report'Boyz n the Hood' director John Singleton suffers stroke: report
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez wants ONE thing to STAY - Michael Owen reveals what hes heardNewcastle boss Rafa Benitez wants ONE thing to STAY - Michael Owen reveals what he's heard
Johnny Depp Allegedly Tried to Get Amber Heard Fired From AquamanJohnny Depp Allegedly Tried to Get Amber Heard Fired From Aquaman
Leaders
Donald-TrumpDonald Trump
45th President of the United States of America
Mike-PenceMike Pence
Vice President of the United States
Theresa-MayTheresa May
British Prime Minister
Angela-MerkelAngela Merkel
Chancellor of Germany
Emmanuel-MacronEmmanuel Macron
President of France
Justin-TrudeauJustin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
Nancy-PelosiNancy Pelosi
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Barack-ObamaBarack Obama
44th U.S. President
Vladimir-PutinVladimir Putin
Russian President
Shinzo-AbeShinzō Abe
Prime Minister of Japan
Former Labour MP Fiona Onasanya jailed in speeding case
Aasia Bibi cleared after years on death row for blasphemy in Pakistan
Let Me Finish review: Everybody hates Chris Christie – and he hates Jared Kushner
Jeff Flake rules out 2020 primary challenge to Trump
Trump accepts invitation from Pelosi to deliver State of the Union on Feb. 5
John Krasinski Causes Meltdown on Twitter As He Tears Up During Wife Emily Blunt's SAG Speech
Katie Price reveals plans to adopt a Nigerian orphan
Apple rushes to fix FaceTime bug that let users eavesdrop on others
Toy Story 4: NEW teaser gives first look at THIS major original character’s return
Facebook's popularity dips with UK children, says Ofcom
Green MSP Ross Greer and James Cleverly on Churchill legacy
Miley Cyrus honors Ellen with earrings featuring her iconic Time cover
Elon Musk demands PewDiePie to let him host meme review with hilarious Tweet
3-year-old boy who went missing in woods for days says bear kept him safe
George Groves announces his retirement from boxing
Manchester United plot FA Cup revenge after being drawn against Chelsea
Michael Jackson Family Condemns 'Leaving Neverland' Documentary About Accusers
Lady Gaga and Christian Carino SAG Awards PDA - Lady Gaga and Christian Carino Kiss at SAG Awards
Hillary Clinton tells friends she's leaving 2020 door open
Pelicans star Anthony Davis wants to be traded, agent says
Will the next iPhone charge wirelessly?
NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover may have 'died' in dust storm, scientists fear
Emma Stone and Boyfriend Dave McCary at 2019 SAG Awards
2019 SAG Awards Analysis
Kamala Harris says the powerful seek to divide America
Gemma Collins Left In Tears After Falling Flat On Her Face During Live ‘Dancing On Ice’ Routine
Vanessa Hudgens' Most Iconic Rent Live Moments
WWE Royal Rumble: Becky Lynch WIN sends fans WILD after eliminating Nia Jax and Charlotte
Zac Efron Sundance party leaves attendees angry, freezing
Formula E: Rita Ora looks on as Sam Bird wins in Santiago
Connor Wickham ends long wait as Crystal Palace knock out Tottenham
SAG Awards 2019 Winners: The Complete List
Earth’s Oldest Known Rock Found on Moon - Scientists Explain How It Got There
Dakota Theriot, suspect in 5 killings in Louisiana, arrested in Virginia
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper Perform 'Shallow' Together in Las Vegas: Watch
Novak Djokovic outclasses Rafael Nadal to win his seventh Australian Open
One in 20 Britons ‘does not believe’ Holocaust took place, poll finds
Banksy drawing, worth millions, of sad-faced girl stolen in Paris
Pete Davidson’s Stand-Up Sets Are All About ‘Sick Genius’ Ariana Grande
M. Night Shyamalan and James McAvoy clear up Glass
UK's 'highest taxpayers' revealed in first-ever Sunday Times list
Meghan Markle's independence is rubbing royals the wrong way
Did Kylie Jenner Reference Taylor Swift With New Valentine's Day Collection?
Matt LeBlanc Stole A 'Friends' Prop For The Sweetest Reason
Roger Stone set to appear in federal court in Washington DC
Fatima Ali, 'Top Chef' fan favorite, dies at 29
Ann Coulter Admits To Bill Maher: ‘OK, I’m Very Stupid Girl' About Donald Trump
Katie Price Admits To Self-Medicating With Drugs But Denies It Was Reason Behind Rehab Stint
Naomi Osaka wins Australian Open final to seal back-to-back grand slams
Bernie Sanders set to announce 2020 presidential run
Miley Cyrus Shares Sexy Instagram Photos in Low-Cut Black Dress After Getting New Ink
Box Office: 'Glass' Slamming 'Kid Who Would Be King,' 'Serenity'
Pelosi: What does Putin have on the President?
Melania Trump – An Apology
Michel Legrand, Oscar-winning composer, dies aged 86
Why the Australia Day debate gets more heated every year
Roger Stone says he won't testify against Trump after Mueller indictment
Trump's speech from the White House Rose Garden
NASA delivers clearest view yet of space snowman Ultima Thule
Djokovic sets up blockbuster Australian Open final with 'greatest rival' Nadal
LaGuardia airport closed to incoming flights due to lack of air traffic controllers in shutdown
Anne Hathaway Confirms 'The Princess Diaries 3' Is Happening
Asian Cup: South Korea knocked out by Qatar in quarter-finals
Facebook to integrate Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp
Even Beyoncé Can't Believe How Similar She and Blue Ivy Carter Look
Jessica Biel regrets dressing 'so sexy all the time' in her younger days
'Shameless' Star Tina Malone Served Court Summons Over James Bulger Killer Post
How Americans Acquired a Taste for Haggis, with Help from the Scottish Poet Robert Burns
Trump ally Roger Stone arrested on seven charges in Mueller inquiry
Azealia Banks: fearless truthteller or relentless troll?
Detainment: why Oscar-nominated Jamie Bulger doc has prompted outrage
Grave of explorer Matthew Flinders unearthed near London station
Hugh McIlvanney, doyen of sportswriting, dies aged 84
19 Rihanna Watching Basketball Pictures You Have To See Before You Die
China's latest monkey cloning tests are considered 'monstrous'
Trump's surrender on State of the Union makes it even less likely Pelosi will give in on border wall
Thierry Henry suspended by Monaco as manager after 104 days in charge
Vampire Weekend Drop Two New Songs, Album Due This Spring (Listen)
The best and the worst Jennifer Lopez films – ranked
Pacers hold off Raptors but lose star Victor Oladipo
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross: The US is still 'miles and miles' from a China trade deal
Transfer roundup: Jordan Lukaku joins Newcastle on loan
Netflix issues warning not to watch Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes alone
Rafael Nadal dismantles Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach Australian Open final
Scotland's former first minister Alex Salmond arrested and charged
China blocks Bing; Ghosn quits Renault; Central bankers talk
Australian Open 2019: Naomi Osaka's power sets up final against Petra Kvitova
Weezer Surprise-Releases Covers Album
Diana Athill, writer and editor, dies aged 101
Trump says he won't deliver State of the Union address until shutdown is over
Russia and key allies vow to stand by Maduro in Venezuela crisis
J. Cole Takes Aim at Kanye West on New Song ''Middle Child''
Airbus could quit Britain as it calls Brexit a ‘disgrace’
Lady Gaga Had an Interesting Reaction to Bradley Cooper Being Snubbed by the Oscars
TSLA: Wall Street goes after Tesla at a critical time
Serena Williams’s Australian Open Comes to an Abrupt, Bizarre End
Phillip Schofield Insists He And Holly Willoughby Aren't In Trouble Over Gemma Collins 'Dancing On Ice' Comments
Jonas Mekas, titan of underground filmmaking, dies aged 96
Speaker Nancy Pelosi stands firm: No State of the Union address in the House next week
Venezuela: Trump recognises opposition leader as president
Johnny Depp Claims He Has Evidence to Disprove Amber Heard's Domestic Violence Allegations
Miley Cyrus's Bold New Tattoo Is Totally Miley
Comedian and co-creator of 'Rel' Kevin Barnett dies at 32
Four men accuse Bohemian Rhapsody director Bryan Singer of sexual misconduct
Pete Buttigieg forms exploratory committee to run for president
Santander to close 140 branches across UK, putting 1,270 jobs at risk
PMQs verdict: Corbyn leaves May sounding defensive on Brexit
No Brexit deal means hard Irish border, EU says
‘Still here’: Tom Brady isn’t going anywhere. And he’s going to let you know it
Cardiff City’s Emiliano Sala was on missing plane, French authorities say
Drake UK tour 2019: How to get tickets as dates to nationwide Assassination Vacation shows announced
Why the conversations between black men in ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ feel so rare
Oscars 2019: Biggest snubs including Bradley Cooper, Emily Blunt and 'Crazy Rich Asians'
American singer Chris Brown detained in Paris after rape complaint
Oscar Nominations 2019: Olivia Colman, 'Black Panther' And 'A Star Is Born' Lead Academy Award Nominees
Lady Gaga Says Mike Pence Is 'Worst Representation' of Christianity During Las Vegas Show
Emma Stone Debuts Drastically Darker Hair at the Producers Guild Awards
Cardi B Gets Into Twitter Beef with Tomi Lahren Over Politics
Gemma Collins Furiously Accuses 'Dancing On Ice' Judge Jason Gardiner Of 'Selling Stories' On Her
Chris Evans on Virgin Radio – same show, different station
Arsenal confirm Sven Mislintat will leave club on 8 February
Pence links Trump’s push for border wall to Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy
Kamala Harris officially enters US presidential race
Ariana Grande Sends Message to Mac Miller on His Birthday
'SNL': Pete Davidson appears to joke about Instagram post that prompted wellness check
Stefanos Tsitsipas stuns Roger Federer in four-set Australian Open thriller
Sterling and Sané ensure Manchester City cruise to victory at Huddersfield
Victoria Beckham admits rocky marriage rumors are ‘frustrating’
Kim Kardashian Effectively Makes Peace With Taylor Swift by Listening to Her Music
US, China to Share, Publicly Release Data From Dark Side of the Moon - NASA
Ariana Grande accused of copying latest song '7 Rings' from rapper Princess Nokia
Charity renews call for elderly driver eye tests after Prince Philip crash
'Glass' Review: It's not Perfect, But It Says a Lot About Heroism
Maggie Rogers: Heard It in a Past Life review – Alaska hitmaker's debut lacks edge
Trump reportedly told Michael Cohen to lie. His own attorney general pick testified that’s a crime
TV tonight: ‘Frankie and Grace,’ ‘The Punisher’ return on Netflix
Ariana Grande drops '7 rings'
Hailey Baldwin and Justin Bieber Are Marrying in L.A. and Their Guest List Includes Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott
Pelosi only gives Trump a bigger audience by canceling State of the Union
Miley Cyrus shuts down pregnancy rumors in 'egg-celent' way: 'Can everyone leave me alone'
Hitachi scraps £16bn nuclear power station in Wales
Rudy Giuliani: 'I never said there was no collusion' by Trump campaign
Louisville to rename airport for Muhammad Ali
American service members killed in Isil blast near US patrol in Syria's Manbij
Pelosi asks Trump to move State of the Union address
Who ya gonna call? Ivan Reitman sends son Jason to direct Ghostbusters 3
Hitman guilty of murdering Salford 'Mr Big' Paul Massey
Ariana Grande to Headline Lollapalooza 2019 (EXCLUSIVE)
Alicia Keys to Host Grammys 2019
Kim Kardashian defends Kanye West from reports
Gillette’s ad is not PC guff, Piers Morgan – look beyond the macho stereotype | Gaby Hinsliff
Carol Channing, star of Hello, Dolly! on Broadway, dies aged 97
'Spider-Man: Far From Home' trailer: Watch the first look here
Watch The 'Game Of Thrones' Season 8 Teaser Here
Meghan Markle reveals her due date: report
Lady Gaga Rushes Home After Critics' Choice Awards to Be With Dying Horse: 'I Am So Very Sad'
Trump says 'I never worked for Russia,' calls claim 'a whole big fat hoax' after explosive report of FBI probe
Toyota brings back the Supra sports car after more than 20 years
'So happy you said yes': Chris Pratt engaged to Katherine Schwarzenegger
Mayor of Gdansk dies after being stabbed on stage at charity event
Gareth Johnson: Tory Tasked With Getting Other MPs To Vote For May’s Deal Quits – To Vote Against It
Andy Murray out of Australian Open after losing what could be his last match
Katy Perry Is Glad She "Made the Right Choice" With Orlando Bloom
Neil Warnock on Brexit: ‘I can’t wait to leave. To hell with the rest of the world’
'The most insulting thing I've ever been asked': Fox News' Jeanine Pirro asks Trump if he's ever worked for Russia
Americans blame Trump and GOP much more than Democrats for shutdown, Post-ABC poll finds
Megyn Kelly, NBC News reach separation agreement
SpaceX will lay off 10 percent of its staff to fund projects
The partial government shutdown is now the longest ever as Trump border wall fight rages on
Paris bakery 'gas explosion' kills two firefighters
Tulsi Gabbard: Democrat says she will run for president in 2020
Tim Tebow Is Engaged to Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters
Sen. Kamala Harris teases a presidential run to Stephen Colbert, predicts how the shutdown ends
Dianne Oxberry, BBC weather presenter, dies aged 51
Andy Murray: Sporting great and champion feminist retires
Jayme Closs, 13, found alive three months after parents' murder
Meghan Markle's Royal Patronages Have Finally Been Announced and There Are FOUR
Lady Gaga apologizes for 'poor judgment' over R. Kelly song, vows to pull 'Do What U Want'
Jeff Bezos' Relationship with TV Host Lauren Sanchez Led to Divorce
Jaguar Land Rover is slashing 4,500 jobs
Corbyn says Labour may delay Brexit if it wins snap election
This Awesome Shot of Earth Was Taken From 70M Miles Away
[VIDEO] Donald Trump Primetime Address: Jimmy Kimmel Speech Reaction
BAFTA Awards Nominations 2019: Complete List
MPs force Theresa May to table plan B if she loses Brexit deal vote
John Bercow's decision endangers the office of Speaker, and our democracy | Anne Perkins
Rod Rosenstein, who appointed the special counsel investigating Trump, expected to leave Justice Dept
Amazon Becomes World's Most Valuable Company
New trailer offers more footage from ‘Captain Marvel’ (VIDEO)
Susan Boyle makes emotional appearance on America’s Got Talent
Celebs celebrate Cyntoia Brown clemency decision
Prime-time Trump faces credibility crisis
Stoke City sack manager Gary Rowett after eight months in charge
Scottish government acted unlawfully over Alex Salmond claims, court rules
Padraig Harrington feels trepidation at being Europe’s 2020 Ryder Cup captain
David Bowie Is ... app review – the freakiest show on your smartphone
Golden Globes 2019 Winners List
Cornered: Trump escalates shutdown crisis
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Says There's 'No Question' About Trump's Racism
What was the deal with Christian Bale's accent at the Golden Globes?
Close