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Queen calls for 'common ground' amid Brexit rows
Queen Elizabeth II on Friday made a plea for "common ground" amid ongoing uncertainty over the vexed negotiations for the UK's planned exit from the European Union (EU) in March.
The 92-year-old monarch, who is apolitical in her role as head of state, did not make a direct reference to Brexit and the government's controversial Withdrawal Agreement which failed to clear Parliament earlier this month.
However, a speech she made at the centenary of the Sandringham Women's Institute was inevitably seen as her indirect intervention in the crucial debate in the House of Commons where MPs are due to vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal on leaving the EU next week.
"The continued emphasis on patience, friendship, a strong community focus, and considering the needs of others, are as important today as they were when the group was founded all those years ago. Of course, every generation faces fresh challenges and opportunities," said the Queen in her speech.
"As we look for new answers in the modern age, I for one prefer the tried and tested recipes, like speaking well of each other and respecting different points of view; coming together to seek out the common ground; and never losing sight of the bigger picture," she said.
The monarch added that such approaches were "timeless, and I commend them to everyone".
Her plea for common ground touched on the same issues as her annual Christmas message, in which she urged people to treat others with respect "even with the most deeply held differences".
Downing Street declined to comment directly on the Queen's latest remarks, with a spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May saying: "The Prime Minister's own view is that we should always show great respect for the point of view of others." May is due to return to the House of Commons with a revised plan for Brexit next Tuesday, after her initial deal agreed with the EU was rejected by MPs in a historic Commons defeat on January 15.
The prospect of a chaotic "no-deal" Brexit continues to loom as MPs remain deeply divided over the contours of a more orderly withdrawal.
While the EU has ruled out reworking the Withdrawal Agreement, May is hoping to get further assurances on the controversial Irish backstop clause which critics fear would keep the UK tied to EU rules even after Brexit.
There are a series of parallel drives within the House of Commons with just 64 days to go before the March 29 deadline under the Article 50 Lisbon Treaty timeline.
An amendment being tabled by Opposition Labour Party MP Yvette Cooper to force ministers to extend Article 50 if a no-deal Brexit looked imminent is gaining momentum across party lines in an effort to avert what is feared would be an abrupt exit without any agreement in place.
Cooper, who has devised the plan with former Conservative Party ministers Nick Boles and Oliver Letwin, has previously said an initial nine-month extension is a starting point, with the timeline being modified based on what MPs agreed on.
The eventual bill, if passed, would give the UK Parliament control over the final stages of the Brexit process if there is no parliamentary consensus on a Brexit deal by February 26.
It would give MPs a vote on preventing a no-deal Brexit and extending Article 50.
Meanwhile, May's divided Cabinet continued to mount pressure on her, with Chancellor Philip Hammond repeating his warning that leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement would be a "betrayal" of the 2016 referendum vote.
Theresa May has warned a failure by MPs to back her Withdrawal Agreement with the EU risks a no-deal Brexit or even no Brexit at all and embarked on cross-party talks following the overwhelming rejection of her deal last week.
Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has refused to take part until she rules out a no-deal Brexit.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
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