Theresa May uses New Year's message to beg MPs to back her on Brexit

PUBLISHED: 22:40 31 December 2018 | UPDATED: 22:43 31 December 2018

Theresa May pleads for support for her Brexit deal. Photograph: Downing Street/PA.

Theresa May pleads for support for her Brexit deal. Photograph: Downing Street/PA.

Theresa May has used her New Year's message to desperately call for MPs to back her Brexit deal, as Downing Street admitted "there is still work to do" within the next 9 days.

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May has urged MPs to back her Brexit deal saying that passing it into law will allow the UK to “turn a corner” and put a disruptive period of political turmoil behind it.

She said while the 2016 referendum was “divisive” there was a chance to make 2019 “the year we put our differences aside and move forward together”.

In her video message, she said: “New Year is a time to look ahead and in 2019 the UK will start a new chapter.

“The Brexit deal I have negotiated delivers on the vote of the British people and in the next few weeks MPs will have an important decision to make.

“If Parliament backs a deal, Britain can turn a corner.”

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster used her message to warn the prime minister that she will need to get significant changes to her Withdrawal Agreement if the Northern Irish party are to back it.

Foster said: “The prime minister has promised to get changes to the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement.

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“We will be holding her to that commitment and we will work with the Government to achieve a better deal.

“We are very mindful that any deal will bind the hands of future governments and prime ministers therefore the legal text must be watertight for the United Kingdom.”

Meanwhile Downing Street has admitted “there is still more work to do” just 9 days before the House of Commons debates the government’s Brexit deal.

The government has indicated that MPs will begin debating the Withdrawal Agreement again on January 9, before MPs vote on the plan a week later.

With ministers conceding that the vote would have failed when it was pulled in December, the prime minister is hoping to offer further assurances to win over her backbenchers and the DUP.

A Downing Street spokeswoman told Press Association that the UK was still working to get the “legal and political assurances” required from the EU.

She said the PM had “been in contact with European leaders and that will continue in the lead up to the vote”.

The spokeswoman added: “Her focus is certainly on getting the assurances that MPs want ahead of that vote taking place.

“There is still work to do and talks will continue.”

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