British Prime Minister Theresa May delivered a statement on her new withdrawal agreement bill in London on 21 May following a Cabinet meeting.
"The reality is that after three attempts to secure parliamentary agreement, we will not leave the European Union unless we have a deal that can command wider cross party support", May said.
According to May, the Brexit bill that is planned to be submitted to Parliament early next month in order to enact the withdrawal deal will include "significant further changes to protect the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom".
"I recognise the genuine and sincere strength of feeling across the House on this important issue. The government will therefore include in the withdrawal agreement bill, at introduction, a requirement to vote on whether to hold a second referendum. And this must take place before the withdrawal agreement can be ratified. And if the House of Commons were to vote for a referendum, it would be requiring the government to make provisions for such a referendum, including legislation if it wanted to ratify the withdrawal agreement. So, to those MPs who want a second referendum to confirm the deal, you need a deal and therefore withdrawal agreement bill to make it happen, so let it have its second reading and then make your case to parliament", May said, while setting out the details of a new deal to be put before the UK lawmakers.
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The Irish backstop cannot be removed from the UK withdrawal agreement, but under the new Brexit deal, the British government will be under legal obligation to find an alternative to the backstop by December 2020, Prime Minister Theresa May stated.
"Although it is not possible for those [alternative arrangements] to replace the backstop in the withdrawal agreement, we can start the work now to ensure they are a viable alternative. So, as part of the new Brexit deal, we will place the government under a legal obligation to seek to conclude alternative arrangements by December 2020, so that we can avoid any need for the backstop coming into force", May said, while setting out the details of the new deal to be put before UK lawmakers.
In addition, Northern Ireland will have to "give consent… on a cross-community basis for new regulations which are added to the backstop", May said.
Alternative arrangements for the Irish border, workers' rights, and environmental protections were discussed during the meeting earlier in the day.
The Brexit bill is expected to be put to a vote in early June and, if it fails, the UK is set either for a no deal or for Article 50 to be revoked.