UK receives EU's 'legally binding' assurances on Brexit deal ahead of vote

UK lawmakers will vote on the revised deal on Tuesday before the March 29 due date

UK receives EU's 'legally binding' assurances on Brexit deal ahead of vote European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (right) and British PM Theresa May at a press conference after the talks | AFP

UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday said that Britain has won “legally binding” assurances from the European Union ahead of the crucial vote in parliament. British lawmakers have threatened to vote down the deal again.

The United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union on March 29, and Britain is nowhere close to a Brexit deal that has the approval of lawmakers in parliament.

May made the announcement after a late evening meeting with EU chief Jean Claude Juncker to agree to the additional guarantees in Strasbourg, France. Juncker has warned that the stakes are increasingly high, adding that this is the deal or “Brexit may not happen at all”.

“Today we have secured legal changes,” May told reporters after the talks. “Now is the time to come together to back this improved Brexit deal and to deliver on the instruction of the British people.” It remains to be seen if the assurances would be enough to win over the 116 additional lawmakers who handed her deal a crushing defeat on January 15 by 230 votes.

The crucial vote on the deal will happen on Tuesday, and UK lawmakers will need to study the new proposals before casting their vote. There is very little expectation that Tuesday's vote could be any different from the result of the January 15 vote. If so, Britian might leave the bloc on March 29 with no deal. Parliamentarians have expressed that a no deal Brexit would throw the UK into chaos.

May promised that if the deal does not get the required votes and is defeated again in the parliament, then MPs will vote on “no deal” on Wednesday and then on Thursday, on delaying Brexit.

Other possible outcomes include a delay in severing ties with the EU, a snap election or another referendum.