UK PM May told ministers she wants legally binding changes to Brexit deal
Updated 17:43, 06-Feb-2019
CGTN

UK Prime Minister Theresa May told her top ministers on Tuesday her objective was to secure legally binding changes to Britain's EU exit deal to ensure that the country could not be trapped indefinitely in the Northern Irish backstop, her spokesman said.

"The prime minister said that our objective now was to secure a legally binding way of guaranteeing we cannot be trapped indefinitely in the backstop," the spokesperson said following a meeting with May's cabinet.

A young boy writes on a mock wall erected across the border between Ireland and the UK as the Border Communities against Brexit group hold an anti-Brexit protest in Louth, Ireland, January 26, 2019. /VCG Photo

A young boy writes on a mock wall erected across the border between Ireland and the UK as the Border Communities against Brexit group hold an anti-Brexit protest in Louth, Ireland, January 26, 2019. /VCG Photo

May will use a visit to Brussels on Thursday to update European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on discussions taking place in Britain on alternatives to the backstop, an insurance policy to avoid a hard border in Ireland, he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster criticized the backstop plan, called it toxic and must be replaced. 

"We have raised opposition to backstop repeatedly with Prime Minister May," said Foster, "We will support the prime minister if the backstop is replaced."

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster speaks at the DUP annual party conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland, November 24, 2018. /VCG Photo

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster speaks at the DUP annual party conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland, November 24, 2018. /VCG Photo

"Parliament's mandate is to replace the backstop, the current backstop ... is toxic to those of us living in Northern Ireland. If the backstop is dealt with in the Withdrawal Agreement ... we will support the prime minister. I don't want to see a no-deal scenario." Foster stressed.

"We will be reiterating our opposition to the current backstop and the fact that parliament has now backed that position means she has a clear mandate to go back to Brussels," she added.

Read more: 

What is the Irish backstop?

EU: Backstop is only solution to Irish border issue

May plots 'pragmatic' path through Brexit maze

Foster called for joint efforts to avoid a hard border on the Island of Ireland and expected a deal that works for both the UK and EU. "Let's look for a solution, a better Brexit deal," said she.

DUP currently holds 10 seats in the parliament, it helped prop up May's Conservative minority government followed the UK general election in 2017.

(Cover: Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks with business representatives during her visit in Belfast, Northern Ireland, February 5, 2019. /Reuters Photo)

Source(s): Reuters