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UK's May seeking assurances over Irish backstop: Brexit minister

Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Stephen Barclay, leaves 10 Downing Street, in central London, Britain December 6, 2018. REUTERS/ Toby Melville/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - British Brexit minister Stephen Barclay said on Thursday that Prime Minister Theresa May was working to secure legal and political assurances over the so-called Irish backstop in her Brexit deal.

May, who saw off a challenge to her leadership on Wednesday, pulled a planned vote in parliament earlier this week on the deal after lawmakers threatened to vote it down due to their concerns over the backstop.

May, who was due to meet European Union leaders in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, would seek “legal and political assurance on that point,” Barclay told BBC Radio.

“We need to see some movement ... The prime minister, through the mandate she secured from the parliamentary party last night, now has the time to have those discussions with European colleagues.”

Reporting by Kate Holton and Kylie MacLellan; Editing by William Schomberg