EU ready to offer limited support to Theresa May on Brexit deal


Financial Times  | Tue, Jan 8, 2019

by George Parker and Tobias Buck


Leo Varadkar, Irish prime minister, has confirmed the EU is ready to provide new “written guarantees, explanations and assurances” to help Theresa May surmount huge opposition to her Brexit deal in the House of Commons next week.

Mr Varadkar’s comments will give Mrs May hope, but many MPs are demanding legal guarantees that the so-called Irish backstop— which would create a “temporary” EU/UK customs union to avoid a hard border in Ireland — will not be a permanent arrangement.

Mrs May is expected to lose the vote, which Downing Street confirmed would be next Tuesday. She is pinning her hopes on firmer EU undertakings ahead of a second vote — possibly in late January or early February — speculation is rising that the prime minister will have to delay the UK’s departure from the bloc, scheduled for March 29.

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