LONDON, Feb 21 (Reuters) - British lawmakers could be given a vote on a revised Brexit deal as early as next week as talks with the European Union have been constructive, finance minister Philip Hammond said on Thursday.
Unless Prime Minister Theresa May can get a Brexit deal approved by the British parliament, then she will have to decide whether to delay Brexit or thrust the world’s fifth largest economy into chaos by leaving without a deal on March 29.
When asked by the BBC what would happen next week, Hammond said: “There may be an opportunity to bring a vote back to the House of Commons - there may be an opportunity, but that will depend on the progress that is made in the next few days.”
Hammond said talks between May and European Commision President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday had been good and constructive.
“They were good and constructive talks yesterday,” Hammond said, adding that the two sides were talking about giving some guarantees that the Irish border backstop could only be a “temporary arrangement”.
“That is a word that hasn’t been used before and I think that is significant,” he said. “Both sides have acknowledged that the political declaration could be expanded, for example, to address concerns that have been expressed in some parts of the House of Commons about workers rights.” (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge. Editing by Andrew MacAskill)