Brexit committee to visit Brussels to discuss 'next steps' in Brexit negotiations

Brexit Committee MPs visits Brussels to discuss 'next steps' in Brexit negotiations

European Parliament's Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt at the European Commission in Brussels.

Monday, February 4, 2019

MPs from the Exiting the European Union Committee are set to meet EU officials in Brussels to discuss the last Brexit negotiations on Monday.

The meeting is a cross-party effort to break the UK’s deadlock over leaving the European Union after MPs voted in favour of Graham Brady’s amendment seeking “alternative arrangements” to the Irish backstop last week.

The same evening the possibility of renegotiating the EU Withdrawal Agreement was rejected by the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

 

 

Hilary Benn, a Labour MP and the chairman of the committee is expected to lead the delegation, while the Prime Minister meets with a MPs’ Working Group looking to implement the Malthouse Compromise that also seeks to replace the backstop with other arrangements.

The MPs will be meeting Martin Selmayr, the European Commission’s secretary general, and European Parliament's Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt.

 

'I don't see much prospect of significant change'

Labour MP Stephen Timms is among those visiting Brussels, and described Mr Selmayr as “the person calling the shots”, but he did not expect “significant change” from the EU.

“I don’t see much prospect of significant change on the Northern Ireland backstop,” he told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer.

“The Irish Government has said that it does not want to make a change so the EU would have to break its commitment to the Republic of Ireland to make a change.

“I can’t see them doing that and why should they do it?”

 

 

He said that “the real perils ahead are for” the UK.

“The biggest issue for the other EU countries is making sure that the EU as a whole sticks together,” he added.

“That is why they are supporting Ireland at the moment and will continue to support Ireland and that is the big prize for them.

“We need to understand the realities of the thinking in Brussels and the arguments that weigh with them, and plan our arguments accordingly.”

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