Britain's Theresa May says she will seek 'pragmatic solution' to Brexit deal

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Maas: Exit from Brexit 'extremely unlikely'

But Maas rejected British calls for further concessions to be offered to make the deal, negotiated over two years, more palatable to its critics in London.

On Monday, the House of Commons Brexit Committee is scheduled to visit Brussels to meet Martin Selmayr, the EU negotiator and Commission secretary-general, Sir Tim Barrow, the ambassador to the EU, and Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament Brexit coordinator.

She promised to return to Brussels with renewed commitment and "new ideas" to deliver a deal.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly reiterated London's push to stop the formation of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney wrote in the Sunday Times: "The backstop is a necessary guarantee, based on legal certainty, not just wishful thinking".

In the article, PM 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 on 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".

The EU insists that the deal "remains the best and only way to ensure an orderly withdrawal", but with the clock running down until the March 29 exit date the risks of a no-deal Brexit for both Britain and the bloc are coming into sharp focus.

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Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt conceded on Thursday that "extra time" might be needed to get "critical legislation" related to Brexit through Parliament.

The prime minister is due to report back to Parliament on her negotiations with the European Union on February 13.

Police are continuing to investigate Friday's discovery of a cache of ammunition in the Omeath area on the Cooley Peninsula near the border with Northern Ireland.

If such an agreement could not be reached, then to avoid those checks and border posts or other infrastructure, the backstop would come into force. "It is in all our interests to get to that agreement and for the European Union to say we are not going to even discuss it seems to me to be quite irresponsible".

May argued that lawmakers would be "happy with the current backstop if there was a time limit or unilateral exit mechanism".

And our correspondent added that the United Kingdom has not yet publicly suggested an alternative Brussels could live with.

"MPs said that, with changes to the Northern Ireland backstop, they would support the deal that I agreed with Brussels to take us out of the EU", May wrote. May's withdrawal agreement by 432votes to 202, with almost 120 Conservative MPs voting against their leader.

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