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Theresa May Offered Plan B for Brexit. It Looks a Lot Like the Defeated Plan A.

Paradoxically, Mrs. May could get another boost if the votes in Parliament show a big majority against leaving the European Union without a deal. She can then argue to Brexit supporters in Parliament that if they don’t vote for her deal, they risk no Brexit at all.

In recent days, Jacob Rees-Mogg, a leading pro-Brexit Conservative lawmaker, described the prime minister’s deal as better than remaining in the European Union.

“I think that if it begins to look like it is basically Theresa May against those who want to thwart Brexit and stop it, she might find Conservative backbenchers who thought her deal wasn’t ‘hard’ enough become more and more sympathetic to it,” said Will Heaven, director of policy for Policy Exchange, a research institute based in London.

In part, it all depends on whether the European Union is willing to be flexible over the Irish backstop plan.

On Monday there was a brief flicker of hope for Mrs. May when Poland’s foreign affairs minister, Jacek Czaputowicz, suggested that a five-year limit on the backstop might be possible, if the Irish government supported the idea.

But that notion was rejected by the Irish foreign minister, Simon Coveney. Both the Irish and the British governments also denied news reports that they were considering a bilateral deal on the backstop to break the deadlock.

Ms. Gostynska-Jakubowska, the research fellow, said that while the European Union might be able to amplify its existing promises that the backstop would be temporary, there is “nothing that Brussels could offer that would go against the principles of the backstop,” adding “we are in a stalemate.”

Though his party is also split on Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition Labour Party leader in Parliament, perhaps spoke for many when he asked: “What makes her think that what she tried to renegotiate in December will succeed in January? This really does feel like Groundhog Day.”

Source: NYT > World

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