The Latest: German minister: no room for UK renegotiation


LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Britain’s exit from the European Union (all times local):

10:05 p.m.

The top Brexit official at the EU Parliament says there is “no majority to reopen or dilute” the withdrawal agreement that British Prime Minister Theresa May wants to renegotiate.

Adding to the chorus of EU rejections of May’s attempt to go back into a deal that both sides agreed after over 1 ½ years of painstaking negotiations, Guy Verhofstadt said that there was no reason to go back and seek a new deal to keep the Irish border open on new British conditions.

Verhofstadt did welcome the U.K. parliament’s non-binding vote to reject crashing out of the bloc without a proper withdrawal deal in place.

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9 p.m.

The European Union says that the current agreement with the U.K. remains the “best and only way” to ensure an orderly Brexit, after British Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to try to overhaul the deal.

EU Council President Donald Tusk’s office said that the “backstop” on the Irish border which Britain seeks to renegotiate is “not open for renegotiation.”

May says Parliament has made its wishes clear and that she will now seek “legally binding” changes to the Brexit withdrawal agreement reached with the EU.

She spoke after British lawmakers voted to try to renegotiate the Brexit divorce agreement with the EU to remove a contentious Irish border measure.

The House of Commons voted 317 to 301 to seek to replace the Irish border “backstop” that keeps the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland free of checkpoints.

The EU did leave other options for negotiation open.

Tusk spokesman Preben Aamann said that “if the U.K.’s intention for the future partnership were to evolve, the EU would be prepared to reconsider its offer and adjust the content and the level of ambition of the political declaration,” referring to the political text to complement the legal withdrawal agreement.

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8:50 p.m.

Britain’s main opposition leader has reversed his position and now says he will meet with the prime minister to discuss Brexit options.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says he is now willing to meet with Prime Minister Theresa May because Parliament has voted “emphatically” to reject leaving the European Union without a deal.

He said he looks forward to meeting May to set out the goals of the Labour Party for Britain’s future relations with the EU.

Corbyn had for weeks declined to take part in cross-party talks unless May took the “no-deal” scenario off the table.


8:45 p.m.

British lawmakers have voted to try to renegotiate the Brexit divorce agreement with the European Union to remove a contentious Irish border measure.

The House of Commons voted 317 to 301 to seek to replace the Irish border “backstop” that keeps the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland free of checkpoints.

British Prime Minister Theresa May had urged lawmakers to support the move and “tell Brussels that the current nature of the backstop is the key reason Parliament cannot support this deal.”

But the EU has ruled out reopening the Brexit deal it struck with May’s government in November after a year and a half of negotiations.

Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29 and businesses fear economic chaos if there is not a deal in place regulating the divorce.


8:30 p.m.

British lawmakers have passed a non-binding motion calling on the government to rule out leaving the European Union on March 29 without a divorce agreement.

Businesses fear economic chaos if Britain crashes out of the bloc without a deal regulating the terms of the divorce.

An amendment ruling out a “no-deal” departure passed 318 votes to 310 on Tuesday night. It is not legally binding but has political force as an expression of the will of Parliament.

Lawmakers rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal earlier this month, and are voting Tuesday on a series of options for next steps.

The EU insists the Brexit agreement cannot be reopened.


8 p.m.

British lawmakers have rejected several attempts to defeat Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative government and seize control of Britain’s Brexit process.

The House of Commons is voting on a series of options for next steps after they threw out May’s Brexit divorce deal from the European Union earlier this month.

The first four of seven amendments have been rejected Tuesday night, with governing Conservatives and their allies outnumbering opposition votes. All sought to give Parliament more control and rule out Britain leaving the EU without a divorce deal in place.

Several more votes are still to come.

Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, and businesses fear economic chaos if there is not a deal in place regulating the terms of the divorce.


6:40 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron says the Brexit divorce deal worked out between the EU and the British government can’t be renegotiated.

Macron spoke Tuesday after British Prime Minister Theresa May promised to overhaul the deal in a bid to win over skeptical British lawmakers.

Macron said the extensive withdrawal deal “is the best accord possible. It is not re-negotiable.”

Speaking after a summit in Cyprus, Macron expressed hope that May would present the EU with steps that avoid a so-called no-deal Brexit. Macron said Britain leaving the EU on March 29 without a deal is a situation that “no one wants, but we should all prepare for.”

May urged British lawmakers Tuesday to send the EU an “emphatic message” that they would not accept an Irish border guarantee in the withdrawal deal. EU leaders have ruled out any renegotiation of the Brexit deal.


5 p.m.

A European parliament committee has proposed to grant U.K. citizens visa-free access to European Union countries for short stays after Brexit, if Britain reciprocates the move.

Tuesday’s proposal by the legislature civil liberties committee now goes to the parliament’s plenary and to the 27 member states for further discussion.

If approved, citizens from both sides could travel to each other’s territories without much paperwork, much like they do currently with Britain still a member of the bloc.

The U.K. is set to leave the EU on March 29.


3:30 p.m.

A top European Parliament lawmaker says it makes little sense for Britain to seek a renegotiation of the contentious Irish border guarantee in the withdrawal agreement.

British Prime Minister Theresa May says she plans to ask the EU to change the border measure, known as the backstop, which would keep the U.K. in a customs union with the EU in order to remove the need for checks along the Irish border.

Manfred Weber, who heads the biggest group in the European Parliament, noted Tuesday that the existing deal is a “compromise between many interests.”

Weber said that “if there is now a unilateral attempt to reopen the agreement, the consequence will be that not just the backstop has to be renegotiated — then the Gibraltar question, the question of how much money Britain has to pay for exiting, the question of citizens’ rights will have to be renegotiated.”

Weber added: “If we reopen (it), then everything will be reopened. And to be honest, I don’t see much sense in that.” He said what is needed from Britain is “clear orientation” on the two sides’ long-term relationship.


2:30 p.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May says she plans to ask the European Union to reopen its Brexit divorce deal and change a contentious Irish border guarantee.

The EU insists it will not renegotiate the border “backstop” or any other part of the withdrawal agreement.

British lawmakers are debating and voting on rival plans for the next steps in the Brexit process. May is urging them to support a call for the backstop to be replaced by “alternative arrangements.”

May says it’s clear “this House wants changes to the backstop,” and she wants to “go back to Brussels with the clearest possible mandate.”

She says she hopes to secure changes and bring her amended deal back to Parliament, where it was rejected by lawmakers on Jan.15.

The U.K. is due to leave the EU on March 29.


9:25 a.m.

Germany’s justice minister says there’s no room for substantial renegotiation of Britain’s withdrawal agreement with the European Union. She says the EU can be flexible on Britain’s departure date, but London must have a plan for a delay to make sense.

Katarina Barley, who is half-British and has long advocated a second referendum, also said in an interview with SWR2 radio that such a vote “is becoming more likely every day” given Britain’s political chaos.

British lawmakers are debating Tuesday what to do next. Barley said it will be “difficult” if they want to renegotiate, “because the EU cannot make more concessions to Britain on the important points.”

Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29. Barley said the EU would be prepared to compromise but “if there is no plan at all for what should then be different, then a delay makes only very limited sense.”


9:20 a.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is backing a proposal to renegotiate part of her European Union divorce deal as she seeks to blunt opposition in Parliament.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox says the government supports an amendment that rejects the so-called backstop that could keep Britain in a customs union with the EU to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

Instead, it directs the prime minister to seek “alternative arrangements.”

Fox told the BBC on Tuesday the amendment offers the best chance for Britain to avoid leaving the EU without a deal on future relations.

The comments come as lawmakers prepare to vote on a series of Brexit amendments after the House of Commons overwhelmingly rejected May’s agreement two weeks ago, primarily over the backstop

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