LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal can be passed by the British parliament if the European Union provides clarification that the Northern Irish “backstop” will be temporary, foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said on Friday.
FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt arrives in Downing Street, London, Britain, November 13, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo
The backstop is an insurance policy designed to prevent the return of border checks between Ireland, an EU member, and British-ruled Northern Ireland. It is proving the biggest obstacle to a divorce deal between Britain and the EU.
May pulled a vote on her divorce deal earlier this month after admitting that parliament would reject it. MPs are set to discuss the agreement again next month, with a vote in the week starting Jan. 14.
Parliament is deeply divided, with both supporters and opponents of Brexit opposed to May’s deal, which seeks to maintain close ties with the EU.
Britain is due to leave the bloc on March 29 and the impasse has increased the chances of a no deal Brexit and led to growing calls for a second referendum.
Hunt said May’s withdrawal agreement could be passed by MPs if the EU made clear that the Irish “backstop