POST TIME: 14 December, 2018 00:00 00 AM
May seeks EU compromise after surviving vote
BBC, London

May seeks EU compromise after surviving vote

Britain's PM Theresa May (C) arrives yesterday in Brussels for a European Summit aimed at discussing the Brexit deal, the long-term budget and the single market. AFP PHOTO

Theresa May has said she will be showing EU leaders the "legal assurances" she believes MPs want before they will back her deal. The prime minister is in Brussels for an EU summit after surviving a vote of confidence organised by her own MPs. She believes she can get her MPs to back her Brexit deal if she can ease their fears about the "backstop" plan to avoid a manned Irish border. She also said she would not lead the Tories into the next general election. That was a public restatement of the pledge she made to her MPs on Wednesday as part of a last-minute effort to persuade enough of them to keep her in office to deliver the Brexit deal that many Tory MPs are against.

Critics say Mrs May's backstop plan will keep the UK tied to EU rules indefinitely and curb its ability to strike trade deals. The EU says it will not renegotiate the backstop, but may agree to give greater assurances on its temporary nature.

It seems unlikely that would win over enough support for her Brexit plan to have a realistic chance of getting through the House of Commons, with tensions heightened in the Conservative Party in the wake of Wednesday evening's vote.

Theresa May did win the ballot of Conservative MPs, on whether she should remain their party leader, by 200 votes to 117, but only after putting an end date on her premiership.  Theresa May said she had listened to the concerns of the MPs who had voted against her, adding that she knew what was needed to get her deal "over the line".

"I've already met [Irish Premier] Leo Varadkar, I'm going to be addressing the European Council later and I'll be showing the legal and political assurances that I believe we need to assuage the concerns that MPs have on this issue." She added: "I don't expect an immediate breakthrough but what I do hope is that we can start work as quickly as possible on the assurances that are necessary."

On her pledge to step down as leader before the next general election, she said: "I've said that In my heart I would love to be able to lead the Conservative Party into the next general election but I think it is right that the party feels that they would prefer to go into that election with another leader."