Monday, 10 December, 2018

UK Chancellor: Brexit talks have become positive

The DUP led by Arlene Foster warned that Theresa May “may not be the leader to take us through Brexit” The DUP led by Arlene Foster warned that Theresa May “may not be the leader to take us through Brexit”CLODAGH KILCOYNE REUTERS
Ellis Copeland | 13 October, 2018, 22:42

The Irish border "backstop", which seeks a way to avoid customs checks on the frontier between the British province of Northern Ireland and Ireland if there is no overall exit deal, has become the biggest sticking point in negotiations.

As May prepared to update key Cabinet ministers on progress toward a deal, Ivan Rogers said that, more than two years after voting to leave the EU, Britain is "on fantasy island" about what kind of divorce agreement is possible.

British Prime Minister Theresa May was struggling on Friday to find consensus on Brexit proposals that would be acceptable to her ministers, her Conservative Party and the Northern Irish lawmakers who prop up her minority government.

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

Before the meeting some cabinet members had reportedly told Brexiteers in the European Research Group that they would demand a clear time limit, to which the EU is unlikely to concede.

The Guardian said House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom was also concerned about May's reported plan to accept keeping Britain in the EU customs union for an indefinite period after it withdraws.

May is also facing a revolt by her Northern Irish allies over the long-term trading relationship, an outline of which London wants set out before Brexit.

"The prime minister would never agree to a deal which could trap the United Kingdom in a backstop permanently", May's spokeswoman said on Friday.

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She repeated that Britain wanted a new trade deal by the end of December 2021 at the latest.

The import of horses from the European Union into Britain will not change immediately after exit because the country is replicating current systems, the British government said.

"We are working not just with the domestic preparations that we need to do, but with the Belgians, the Dutch and the French, to make sure not just passengers going, as you say, on holiday but also goods can continue to flow".

"This backstop arrangement would not be temporary".

Other cabinet members, who appeared to not have been invited to the meeting, including Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, and Penny Mordaunt, the global development secretary, were said to be frustrated with the lack of a time limit, and, according to The Times, citing an unnamed source, were considering their positions.

Mr Raab said: "We're confident we will have continuity on Eurostar, even in the worst case scenario of a "no deal" situation".

Merkel, who was in the Netherlands for talks with Rutte ahead of next week's meeting, said that she is pleased intensive discussions are now taking place.

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