May claims she is 'armed with fresh' Brexit mandate

Maas: Exit from Brexit 'extremely unlikely'

However, EU leaders have maintained that the Withdrawal Agreement, including the backstop, can not be renegotiated.

Theresa May has said she will be "battling for Britain" when she returns to Brussels to seek a "pragmatic" Brexit deal that can win over both the European Union and her own MPs. In particular, Brussels insists on the agreed guarantee for an open border on the island of Ireland, the so-called Backstop.

Mr McDonnell also said talk of such "contractual" arrangements, first reported in the Times, pledging investment in the constituencies of MPs who back Mrs May's deal, was "dangerous for our democracy".

"I will be armed with a fresh mandate, new ideas and a renewed determination to agree a pragmatic solution that delivers the Brexit the British people voted for, while ensuring there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland", she stressed.

Leo Varadkar will travel to Brussels next week to discuss no-deal Brexit preparations with the leaders of the European Commission and Council.

He said in those circumstances, the United Kingdom will still need to live up to its responsibilities under the Good Friday Agreement and in his view a solution based on regulatory alignment - as proposed in the backstop - will remain the "best and most sensible option".

The German foreign minister also rejected British attempts at obtaining further concessions that can satisfy hardliners and critics of the deal in London.

More news: Travel disruption continues as heavy snowfall heads east

With less than two months until Britain is due to leave the bloc on March 29, concerns are growing over the risk of a disorderly "no deal" exit.

Maas reiterated the EU's rejection of a potential renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement, adding that the UK's only option to avoid a "hard Brexit" was to simply accept the agreement that is on the table.

May is due to report back to parliament on her negotiations with the European Union on 13 February, a few weeks after she secured MPs' support to go back to Brussels.

May's remarks came as Downing Street denied media reports of UK Prime Minister Theresa May's team wanting to secure the backing of parliament for a new Brexit deal in April before calling a general election in June as "completely untrue".

After the Commons voted on the Brady amendment, the EU's chief negotiator Michael Narnier said the backstop is "part and parcel" of the UK's Brexit deal and will not be renegotiated.

She rejected any suggestion that seeking alternative arrangements to the backstop constitutes "ripping up the Good Friday Agreement".

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