11.03.2019 | May's last stand! Ireland reveals PM's eleventh-hour Strasbourg showdown
Source - The Daily Express
Mrs May will head to Strasbourg later this evening in a last-bid attempt to save her Brexit deal and break a deadlock in negotiations with the EU, as she prepares for a showdown in the Commons tomorrow. Irish foreign minister and deputy prime minister Simon Coveney said today: "The negotiations are ongoing. Many had hoped we would have clarity at this stage, particularly in advance of the vote tomorrow. We don’t yet. "The British prime minister is travelling to Strasbourg this evening, I understand, to try to finalise an agreement, if that is possible, to be able to put that to a meaningful vote in Westminster tomorrow.
Downing Street has refused to confirm that, saying only: “We have not confirmed anything at this stage.”
This comes as former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair told Mr Macron to "hold firm" over the Brexit deal, so Parliament will be forced to accept a customs union or even call for a second referendum, sources in Paris have confirmed.
Peter Bone, a Eurosceptic Conservative MP, told the Daily Telegraph: “It is totally unacceptable for a former prime minister to go around the heads of European countries and undermine the Government’s position. I’m not sure we could find another time in modern history when this has happened.
"Tony Blair has to realise he has had his time as prime minister and I’m surprised and disappointed he has done this. I doubt he would have liked it if his predecessors had done this to him."
EU bosses will demand a £13.5 billion payment if Prime Minister Theresa May calls for a Brexit delay this week.
Member states are "hardening" their stance towards an extension of Article 50, and are demanding a multi-billion pound increase to the £39 billion Brexit divorce payment.
Mrs May will face a showdown with her MPs in Tuesday's crunch vote, before Parliament will vote later in the week on whether to extend Article 50.
The Prime Minister has called for a three-month extension to negotiations, but EU diplomats will demand more money if this is prolonged.
An EU source told the Daily Telegraph: "Lines are hardening against extension... Anything more than a few weeks will come with legal and financial conditions attached."