May's NI allies upbeat after Brexit talks

British PM May fails to win over her party ahead of Brexit vote

British Prime Minister Theresa May is working to pull off an against-the-odds rescue for her European Union divorce deal, after Parliament voted to postpone Brexit to avert a chaotic United Kingdom departure in two weeks.

The debate on the proposal is expected to take place before a debate on a government motion which says Mrs May will seek a short extension to article 50 if MPs vote through the withdrawal agreement by March 20 (next Wednesday, just before an European Union summit).

The vote makes it likely that the March 29 departure date set down in law, which May has repeatedly emphasised, is likely to be missed, although it is unclear by how long.

But she warned on Wednesday that if her deal were rejected next week, Brexit could be postponed for much longer.

They also rejected a cross-party plan to allow MPs to take control of the Brexit process to hold a series of votes on the next steps, by the narrow margin of two votes.

If May arrives at the Brussels summit deal-less, Tusk will argue that a short delay will achieve little but prolong uncertainty and, to avoid a disruptive no-deal, Britain should be asked to go away and sort out what it really wants - giving time for a new election or second Brexit referendum. Trump, who sees himself as a deal-maker, said he gave May advice but she didn't listen to him.

We also saw MPs rule out having a second referendum, though this was largely because the People's Vote campaign actually asked MPs not to agree to one right now, thinking that it may be better to do so later on.

Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom said the government's Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, had considered the matter and would comment further if he thought it was necessary.

The leader's office is in talks with Labour backbenchers Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson who have drafted an amendment that would ask MPs to back the Prime Minister's withdrawal plan but on the condition she puts it to the public in a second referendum.

May's spokesman said earlier on Thursday that she would put her Brexit deal, struck after two-and-a-half years of negotiations with the European Union, to another vote "if it was felt that it were worthwhile". The European Commission has said Britain must either leave by then or elect its own Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).

Pound has swung more wildly this week than at any point since 2017, rising from below $1.30 to a nine-month high of nearly $1.34 as investors bet Britain would avoid a no-deal Brexit.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's lead Brexit spokesman, said in a tweet there was "no reason at all" for the European Council to agree to a delay "unless there is a clear majority in the House of Commons for something precise".

"She didn't listen to that and that's fine - she's got to do what she's got to do. But I think it could have been negotiated in a different manner, frankly". That left Britain facing a disruptive "no-deal" exit on March 29, when a two-year countdown to departure runs out. Brexit supporters say that, in the longer term, it would let Britain forge trade deals across the world and thrive.

The bloc is more open to a long delay to allow Britain to radically change course - an idea favored by pro-EU British lawmakers who want to maintain close ties with the EU.

Chancellor Philip Hammond is reportedly holding talks this afternoon with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in a bid to gain their support for Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said the party was working with the government to try to find a way of leaving the European Union with a deal.

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