The Prime Minister is set to urge the EU to commit to legally binding changes to the so-called Irish backstop today, as she seeks to get her Brexit deal through parliament.
Theresa May will say the EU’s decisions can “have a big impact on the outcome” of MPs’ second vote on the deal early next week.
May’s Brexit deal was rejected in a historic defeat for a government in December, but since then ministers have petitioned Brussels for changes – though none have been forthcoming.
Yesterday the EU gave May a deadline of today to present “acceptable” proposals to break the deadlock.
Parliament is set to vote on any changes May wins to the deal on 12 March, ahead of the UK’s scheduled departure date of 29 March.
On a visit to Grimsby today, the BBC reports that May will say: “Just as MPs will face a big choice next week, the EU has to make a choice too.
“We are both participants in this process. It is in the European interest for the UK to leave with a deal.
“We are working with them but the decisions that the European Union makes over the next few days will have a big impact on the outcome of the vote.”
But Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, said today that the Prime Minister “will not be able to deliver the changes she promised to her failed Brexit deal”.
Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that a deal was “entirely possible” if the EU becomes more flexible, saying the EU will be to blame if Brexit “ends in acrimony”.
Yesterday chancellor Philip Hammond told the BBC: “If the Prime Minister's deal does not get approved on Tuesday then it is likely that the House of Commons will vote to extend the Article 50 procedure, to not leave the European Union without a deal, and where we go thereafter is highly uncertain.”
MPs dislike the Brexit deal’s backstop arrangement, designed to stop the return of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
But the UK cannot quit the arrangement of its own accord, sparking fears that it will remain tied into a customs union with the EU indefinitely.
If May’s deal is voted down on Tuesday, a vote the following day will take place on whether the UK should crash out without an agreement.
If that proposal is rejected, a further vote on Thursday will decide whether or not to delay Brexit.