UK still ‘hopes’ for EU Brexit assurances, says business secretary

Britain's Business Secretary Greg Clark leaves 10 Downing Street | Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

UK still ‘hopes’ for EU Brexit assurances, says business secretary

Greg Clark says the consequences of a no-deal Brexit for future generations would be ‘disastrous.’


1/12/19, 1:27 PM CET

Updated 1/12/19, 1:33 PM CET

The British government is hoping for further assurances from the EU to win round skeptical backbenchers to supporting Theresa May’s Brexit deal, according to Business Secretary Greg Clark.

In a key vote Tuesday, MPs in the House of Commons are widely expected to vote down the Brexit deal that EU and U.K. negotiators struck in November. There is particular unease that the Northern Ireland backstop, which is designed to protect the Good Friday peace agreement by avoiding the need for a hard border, may prove impossible for the U.K. to exit.

“I hope that our colleagues in Europe will also reassure skeptics in the U.K. that the Irish backstop is not intended to be a perpetual arrangement,” Clark told German paper Die Welt in an interview published Saturday, adding: “I hope that over the next few days the cabinet and the prime minister will be able to provide assurance that won’t be the case.”

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Friday in Bucharest that the EU is in discussions with the U.K. government about “clarifications” over the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement but reiterated the bloc’s unwillingness to renegotiate the deal.

For Clark, a staunch supporter of the U.K. remaining in the EU at the time of the referendum,

 »