Theresa May has said she remains "determined" to deliver Brexit on time as she prepares to reopen talks with the European Union on the issue of the Irish backstop.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, the Prime Minister said she would head to Brussels to with a "fresh mandate, new ideas and a renewed determination" to stick to the agreed departure date of 29 March.
Late last month MPs voted in favour of an amendment tabled by Sir Graham Brady to seek "alternative arrangements" to the Irish backstop after MPs rejected the Prime Minister's Brexit deal by historic margins last month.
The Irish backstop has proven to be the main sticking point in the Brexit negotiations. It would keep the UK in a customs union with the EU to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland until a formal trade deal can be agreed, leading to fears it could undermine the Good Friday agreement. However, it has irked Brexiters who fear the UK could be kept in the arrangement indefinitely.
May wrote: “When I return to Brussels I will be battling for Britain and Northern Ireland, I will be armed with a fresh mandate, new ideas and a renewed determination to agree a pragmatic solution that delivers the Brexit the British people voted for, while ensuring there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
“That is what parliament instructed me to do on Tuesday night.
“Although Jeremy Corbyn didn’t vote with us, he also believes the potential indefinite nature of the backstop is an issue that needs to be addressed with Brussels. That is exactly what I’m doing.”
The EU has repeatedly said the backstop is not open for renegotiation. In an article for the Sunday Times, Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney wrote: "The EU will not renegotiate the withdrawal agreement and there will be no withdrawal agreement without the backstop."
Earlier this week foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt suggested the government may need "extra time" to get the "critical legislation" required for the UK to leave the EU through parliament.
Hunt said: "It is true that if we ended up approving a deal in the days before the 29 March, then we might need some extra time to pass critical legislation. But if we are able to make progress sooner then that might not be necessary.”
Tomorrow the House of Commons Brexit Committee is due to visit Brussels to meet EU negotiator and Commission secretary general Martin Selmayr, UK ambassador to the EU Sir Tim Barrow and European Parliament Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt.
May is due to report back to the Commons on the outcome of her talks with the EU on 13 February, with MPs expected to vote the next day.