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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Brexit: Theresa May tells a divided UK parliament she wants to reopen Brexit talks with EU

British prime minister Theresa May told her divided Parliament that she wants one more chance to go back to Brussels to reopen talks with European leaders on how Britain leaves the European Union.

The Europeans seem in no mood to grant May what she most needs, which is a new way for Britain to guarantee that whenever else this chaotic Brexit yields, it will not mean a return of a hard border - with checkpoints, passport controls and customs inspectors - between Ireland and Northern Ireland. 

May told Parliament that she wanted the lawmakers to give her a mandate to return to Brussels for more negotiations over how to make the guarantees over the Irish border temporary versus permanent.

The prime minister conceded there was "limited appetite" for restarting talks from the Europeans.

The prime minister addressed a House of Commons that is trying to wrest control of Brexit from her, as the clock ticks down toward Britain's scheduled departure from the European Union in just 60 days.

Members of Parliament, frustrated by the inability of the prime minister to win approval for her withdrawal agreement, will spend Tuesday debating and voting on cross-party amendments designed to steer the government one way or another on Brexit.

She also faces a skeptical European leadership, grown weary with her delays and the inability of her own Conservative Party, even her own cabinet, to rally round a single vision for Brexit.

"We're not going to reopen the agreement," Sabine Weyand, the EU's deputy negotiator, said at a European Policy Centre event on Monday.

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