Monday, 17 December, 2018

Britain would lose EU rebate even if it decided to ditch Brexit

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Ellis Copeland | 12 October, 2018, 19:52

Under the EU plan, Northern Ireland would effectively remain part of the single market and the customs union - and subject to their rules - until a free trade agreement is in place.

Mrs May chaired a meeting of the inner Cabinet on Brexit progress Mrs May set out in June proposals for a "temporary customs arrangement" to ensure that the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic remains open in the case that no broader EU/UK trade agreement has been finalised.

The main sticking point is finding a way to maintain an invisible border between the UK's Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland.

"Trade from Great Britain into Northern Ireland would be in danger of restriction".

Under pressure from all sides, Theresa May told journalists at Downing Street reception that talks on the key issue of the Irish border were likely to continue until November, while cabinet ministers who met with May yesterday evening were cited by the Financial Times as saying the border issue was close to being settled.

The UK has suggested a temporary customs arrangement between the European Union and country as a whole, with the expectation that a permanent future deal would be in place by the end of 2021.

Some of May's ministers have urged her to put a time limit on that plan.

Britain is leaving the European Union on March 29 and the possibility of there being no deal on future relations - particularly trade - is worrying businesses and politicians.

With the negotiations coming to a head, the central focus of the discussions is thought to have been the issue of the Northern Ireland "backstop" meant to ensure there is not return of a "hard border" with the Republic.

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According to the BBC, Brexiteers were particularly concerned over the fact that Britain could be tied to the bloc's mechanisms indefinitely, which would become an obstacle to the country's independent trade deals elsewhere once it leaves the EU.

The DUP has threatened to withdraw its support for the government if it is not happy with the final Brexit deal.

The document stated that the government "expects" this arrangement to remain in place no later than the end of December 2021.

Mrs May insists that such an arrangement must apply to the whole of the UK to avoid the creation of a "border in the Irish Sea" between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

"But that shouldn't hide the fact that we still have some big differences left to resolve", Hammond said.

On Wednesday, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said there would have to be checks on goods travelling to Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom, because they would effectively be arriving in the EU's single market if there was no hard border with the Republic of Ireland.

Some pro-Brexit cabinet ministers reluctantly signed up to the Prime Minister's Chequers Brexit plan and did not expect her to make so many further concessions to the bloc.

He hit out the "not so subliminal bullying" by Tories opposing her strategy in the middle of negotiations and also criticised International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, who declined to give the PM's plan her explicit backing when asked earlier this week.

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