Britain's May to meet European Union leaders Thursday on Brexit

Government Ministers Meet For Their Weekly Cabinet Meeting

In her efforts to break the impasse over her Brexit deal, May signalled she will seek changes rather than outright removing the backstop, which is created to preserve the open border between Northern Ireland and European Union member state Ireland.

Dublin, he insisted, would not give up on an open-ended backstop obliging Britain to retain many EU rules until a better way could be found to keep goods flowing unchecked across the new EU-UK land border across the island of Ireland.

Corbyn also reiterated that there must not be a return to a hard border in Northern Ireland, adding that all steps must be taken to avoid a no-deal Brexit. These are still waiting for an alternative backstop based on a maximum facilitation model (a sort of digital border) or, failing that, a legal change that ensures that it is temporary or the United Kingdom 's possibility to unilaterally revoke it.

On January 29, the House of Commons narrowly backed an amendment tabled by Conservative MP Graham Brady that would see the Prime Minister return to Brussels in search of alternative arrangements for the Irish backstop, whose current terms and conditions have proved unpopular with pro-Brexit Tories and the DUP.

"Following the vote, work has been taking place on all of the options and it is important for that to take place before we go to Brussels", the Prime Minister's spokesman said.

Coveney is also due to meet a number of President Donald Trump's senior officials, including Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, to seek support for Ireland's stance on the Brexit backstop and planned post-Brexit trade.

British ministers, The Sun newspaper said, have been examining a plan drawn up by Japan's Fujitsu to track trade across the border, while the Telegraph said ministers had discussed delaying Brexit by eight weeks.

Mrs May has previously insisted that "alternative arrangements" to the Irish backstop were under her consideration after her previous Withdrawal Agreement was roundly rejected by Parliament.

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The last time Theresa May was here she was expounding the values of the backstop and now we are in a situation where apparently the alternatives to the backstop are being explored. Here parliament could make clear that it would not contemplate this without it first having been consented to by the Northern Ireland Assembly, or without it having been put to the people in a referendum.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European Union was ready to listen to proposals to solve the border "riddle", but needs to hear from Britain how it thinks it can be done.

She says "one has to be creative, and we must listen to one another" but that an agreement on the Irish border is still possible.

The House of Commons last month overwhelmingly rejected the Brexit deal that May had negotiated with the European Union over nearly two years.

He added, "What I said to her, and I do mean this, is the fact that the British government and the prime minister resigned from the agreement that they made with 27 other governments demonstrates exactly why the backstop is needed and why we need a legally binding guarantee".

The border area was a flashpoint during decades of conflict in Northern Ireland, and the free flow of people and goods across the frontier underpins the peace agreement of 1998.

"From a political point of view, there is still time", German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a conference in Tokyo.

Merkel said the Irish backstop issue could be solved as part of a discussion over a separate agreement on the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom, offering May a potential way out of the deadlock.

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