Monday 11 March 2019 11:17 pm

Theresa May secures legally binding changes to Brexit deal after rushing to Strasbourg

Theresa May has secured “legally binding assurances” over the Irish backstop and urged MPs to vote through her improved Brexit deal.

The Prime Minister rushed to Strasbourg to secure last-minute changes to her deal ahead of tomorrow’s vote.

In a joint press conference with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, she said the legally binding instrument would ensure the backstop is not permanent.

May said it was the intention of both side that the "insurance policy" of the backstop was never used.

The pair also set a date of December 2020 to find ways to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland without falling into the backstop.

MPs will vote on Theresa May’s revised Brexit deal tomorrow less than two months after her initial deal suffered a heavy defeat.

“Today we have agreed legally binding changes that will guarantee that the EU cannot enforce the backstop indefinitely,” she said.

Cabinet office minister David Lidington told MPs the Prime Minister had secured “legally binding changes” to the withdrawal agreement and political declaration.

Lidington said the UK and the EU had agreed a legally binding instrument that ensures the EU cannot "trap" the UK in the Irish backstop indefinitely.

He said: “The EU cannot try to trap the UK in the backstop indefinitely, and that doing so would be an explicit breach of the legally binding commitments that both sides have agreed.