British Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday called on members of her Conservative party to 'move beyond what divides us, ' three days after she suffered another humiliating defeat on her Brexit plans in parliament.
May has told European Union leaders she could pass her deal with concessions primarily around the backstop - a guarantee that there can be no return to border controls between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland.
In a message on Friday, Baker said Downing Street and Brussels were pretending to negotiate while "working together to run down the clock..."
With just 40 days to go until the United Kingdom is due to leave the EU, Opposition Labour remains equally divided over Brexit, with pro-Europe MPs furious that party leader Jeremy Corbyn is refusing to follow the party's policy agreed a year ago - that Labour should seek a second referendum if it can not force a General Election.
The backstop is an insurance policy created to avoid a hard border "under all circumstances" between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after Brexit.
"I don't think it's the mechanism that matters, it's the objective", he told the BBC's Andrew Marr.
The Culture Secretary's comments came hours after Theresa May wrote to Tory MPs assuring them the Government would continue its work to secure changes to the backstop, as she pleaded with them to unite and deliver on Brexit.
"I met Peter and Phil last week, and what they're saying is if Parliament does agree some form of deal, why not have a confirmation referendum after that?" he told Marr. One senior member of May's administration has said she probably has two weeks to save her deal before the House of Commons takes the process out of her hands, in a vote scheduled for February 27.
Mr Cox and Mr Barclay are expected to hold talks with Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, in Brussels today and Mrs May will meet with Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission president, on Wednesday.
The bloc is offering to instead tweak the accompanying political declaration on future EU-UK ties and says controls on goods would largely not be needed on the sensitive Irish border should the UK decide to stay in the bloc's customs union.
"But I believe that a failure to make the compromises necessary to reach and take through Parliament a Withdrawal Agreement which delivers on the result of the referendum will let down the people who sent us to represent them and risk the bright future that they all deserve".
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Merkel's comments, and her defense of global diplomacy instead of a go-it-alone foreign policy , drew lengthy applause. Merkel noted that Europe also has enough terminals to receive more liquefied gas from the USA , among other options.