15.03.2019 | Prime Minister must convince the DUP, Brexiteers and Labour rebels to back her deal at third vote next week
Source - The Daily Mail
The DUP today edged towards backing Theresa May's Brexit deal when MPs vote for the third time next week as the Chancellor Philip Hammond was brought in as emergency talks turned to money.
Mr Hammond is leading negotiations with the Unionist party who previously grabbed an extra £1billion of funding for Northern Ireland in exchange for propping up the Government for two years until this summer.
Earlier today, in a significant boost to the Prime Minister, a DUP representative admitted it was 'involved in ongoing and significant discussions with the Government today' over her EU divorce.
There is also growing pressure on Attorney General Geoffrey Cox to change his legal advice to ease fears that Britain would be trapped 'indefinitely' in the Irish backstop - and Mrs May's top lawyer is also at today's talks.
Other insiders suggested that the Government could promise to pump more money into Northern Ireland. The party negotiated an extra £1billion of funding in exchange for supporting Theresa May in a 'supply and confidence' deal struck in 2017.
The DUP is said to be getting closer to ordering its 10 MPs to back Mrs May's deal, and would bring a large number of Brexiteers with them including high-profile members of the Tory ERG group led by Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Speaking in Washington DUP leader Arlene Foster, who met Donald Trump yesterday, said she was 'working very hard' with Mrs May, adding: 'We want to make sure we get there.'
One source suggested that she is under pressure from party backers and one told The Sun: 'The donors have turned off the taps. They want a deal'.
As she scrambles for votes Mrs May will also have to set out a timetable for her resignation in order to get her deal through Parliament, her own Brexiteer MPs have warned.
Geoffrey Cox is said to be concentrating on Article 62 of the Vienna Convention, which allows countries to exit treaties if there are 'fundamental change of circumstances not foreseen by the parties'.
He is also looking if he can strengthen UK legislation to protect Britain from being trapped taking EU rules 'indefinitely'.
But member of the Tory ERG Brexiteer group are said to have called Mr Cox's work on this 'badly misconceived' and have given him a deadline of Sunday to come up with a solution that would convince them to vote through Mrs May's deal next week.
Lawyers have also said Article 62 is a 'red herring' because a war is considered one of the only ways to invoke it.
But in a boost for the PM, Lord Pannick QC, one of Britain's most senior lawyers, said his opinion is that 'as a matter of law' the UK would not be trapped permanently in the backstop whatever the Attorney General has said.