Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has said Theresa May’s Brexit deal can get through parliament if the EU clarifies the so called Northern Irish backstop will be temporary.
The backstop, an insurance policy to prevent the return of border checks between Ireland and Northern Ireland, has been a major sticking point in securing the Brexit divorce deal.
The Prime Minister, who pulled a vote on the deal earlier this month after admitting parliament would reject it, will try again in mid-January to get it past MPs.
“If it is temporary, then parliament can live with that,” Hunt told the BBC. “We can get this (the deal) through, absolutely can.”
The deal was pulled because of deep divisions in parliament, both among Conservatives and other parties. Some support May’s deal, but many MPs have publicly rejected it.
In November, Hunt told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show the odds of getting the deal through parliament were “looking challenging,” adding it was possible the government could collapse if it did not happen.
The PM has since survived a confidence vote among her MPs after delaying the so called meaningful vote, as well as swatting away attempts by opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn to instigate a cross party vote.
Hunt’s positive tone follows that of European Commissioner Guenther Oettinger, who is responsible for the EU’s budgets, yesterday.
Oettinger told Funke Media Group it was “not entirely unlikely” MPs would vote the deal through in January. “There is certainly no majority for a disorderly Brexit or for a new referendum,” he said.
Jeremy Corbyn insisted before Christmas he would try and secure a better deal with Brussels should Labour take power but refused to rule out a second EU referendum.
"My proposal at this moment is that we go forward, trying to get a customs union with the EU, in which we would be able to be proper trading partners," Corbyn said.