Theresa May travelling to Northern Ireland in Brexit bid

Armed With Fresh Brexit Mandate Ideas Theresa May

On Tuesday, Mrs May will make a high-profile speech in Northern Ireland, where she will insist that she can secure a Commons majority for a Brexit deal that "commands broad support" in the province.

But speaking alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, she said: "We want to do everything to avoid a no-deal, because that would increase the uncertainty".

An "Alternative Arrangements Working Group", including Leave and Remain Conservative MPs, will start three days of talks on Monday on alternative arrangements to the Irish backstop. 'It must be how, together, we move forwards to shape the opportunities of the future, ' she said. The free flow of people and goods across the near-invisible frontier now underpins both the local economy and Northern Ireland's peace process.

Tomorrow Mrs May is expected to hold talks with Northern Ireland's political leaders including the DUP's Arlene Foster, probably missing the weekly PMQs clash with Jeremy Corbyn.

Many in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are anxious that an indefinite backstop could unpick the carefully crafted provisions for North-South cooperation set out in the 1998 Belfast Agreement.

The senior minister told The Scotsman that without a breakthrough in renegotiating the Irish border backstop insurance policy in the next two weeks, there would not be enough time to pass vital legislation to deliver Brexit.

The British PM added that MPs wanted the government to go back to Brussels to renegotiate the deal after the Commons voted in favour of Tory backbencher Sir Graham Brady's amendment on Tuesday that called for "alternative arrangements" to be found.

Britain on Monday will seek to reassure foreign investors anxious about Britain leaving the European Union (EU) after Japanese automaker Nissan said it was scrapping a major planned investment less than two months before Brexit. Parliament rejected her deal last month - overwhelmingly.

A meeting on Monday involving Brexiteers Iain Duncan Smith, Theresa Villiers, Steve Baker and Owen Paterson, along with former Remainers Nicky Morgan and Damian Green, was described as "detailed and constructive" by the Brexit Department.

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With the United Kingdom due to leave the European Union in just 52 days, London and Brussels are arguing over whether the deal clinched in November can be changed, raising the possibility of a delay to Brexit, a last-minute deal or a no-deal exit.

MPs voted last week to say they would only back Mrs May's Withdrawal Agreement if the backstop was replaced by "alternative arrangements".

European Union leaders have so far refused, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel repeated this on Monday, saying the Brexit agreement had been painstakingly negotiated and reopening it "is not on the agenda".

While European Commission Secretary General Selmayr, the long-time lieutenant of President Jean-Claude Juncker, had reiterated the EU line that it would not reopen the withdrawal agreement, Labour lawmaker Hilary Benn told reporters: "I got the impression that they might be prepared to consider some additional statement or legal protocol".

"When I return to Brussels I will be battling for Britain and Northern Ireland, I will be armed with a fresh mandate, new ideas and a renewed determination to agree a pragmatic solution".

Mr Rutte said: "The Withdrawal Agreement remains the only way to ensure an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union".

Louth yesterday to learn about the effect of Brexit on border communities, said a change to the agreement is "not realistic".

But Irish deputy premier Simon Coveney said alternatives to the backstop were "wishful thinking".

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