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Brexit: May to meet EU leaders in bid to rescue deal

Theresa May will meet European leaders and EU officials later for talks aimed at rescuing her Brexit deal.

She will hold talks with Dutch PM Mark Rutte and Germany’s Angela Merkel after postponing a Commons vote on the deal.

The UK PM has said she needs “further assurances” about the Northern Ireland border plan to get backing from MPs.

European Council President Donald Tusk insisted the EU would “not renegotiate” but said leaders would discuss how to help “facilitate UK ratification”.

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd said further talks with Brussels would focus on the Brexit “backstop” on the Irish border, which Mrs May earlier admitted had caused MPs “widespread and deep concern”.

The PM’s abrupt U-turn – after days of repeated insistence that the vote would go ahead – prompted Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to secure a three-hour emergency debate on Tuesday.

“It cannot be right that the government can unilaterally alter the arrangements,” said Mr Corbyn, who earlier accused Mrs May of “losing control of events”.

No date has been set for the Brexit deal to be put before MPs, although Mrs May indicated the final deadline for the vote was 21 January.

Leading Conservative Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg said Mrs May lacked the “gumption” to put her “undeliverable” deal before MPs.

He is trying to get enough Tory MPs to submit letters of no confidence in the PM to trigger a leadership contest.

The Times reported that Crispin Blunt became the 26th MP to do so on Monday.

“I want to encourage those who are thinking about it; get it done,” Mr Blunt told the paper.

Forty eight Conservative MPs must submit letters for any challenge to be initiated.

In other Brexit developments:

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