Theresa May promises Brexit white paper to break customs deadlock

17 May, 2018, 03:18 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Barnier welcomes commitment to post-Brexit UK-EU security partnership

"Nearly two years on from the referendum, ministers have still yet to agree what our future customs and trading relationship with Europe will look like after Brexit".

Prime Minister Theresa May trailed the customs partnership option in her Mansion House speech and it is believe to be her preferred option, while leading Brexiteers have thrown their weight behind the "max fac" model.

Pressed on calls by Tory MPs including former attorney general Dominic Grieve to resign, Mr Johnson said: "I think that the prime minister's position, that I have now twice applauded, is the right one".

"We must redouble our efforts to maintain close working links with our British parliamentary counterparts and ensure a high level of awareness and understanding of the significant challenges that Brexit poses for Ireland".

Seeking a way out of the deadlock, May has divided her ministers into two sub-groups tasked with examining and honing the two proposals.

Shadow Brexit minister Paul Blomfield said it was "deeply disturbing that, after yet another meeting, the Cabinet still can not agree on the most fundamental Brexit issues".

She said: "We don't want the backstop to happen". Though the bloc previously dismissed both options as unworkable, it has started to engage on May's partnership plan by asking for more details.

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"There is no doubt that a customs partnership hybrid model makes the Irish border situation easier, there is no doubt that the question of the Irish border is resolved by the customs partnership in an easier way than maximum facilitation".

"What we need to do is, as she said, come out of the customs union in such a way as to enable us to have frictionless trade with no hard border in Northern Ireland". On May's preferred option, hurdles include the impact of Britain having its own independent trade and tariffs policy, and who would have jurisdiction over a dispute resolution mechanism.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4 this morning Lidington said: "Where we are is when we had an initial talk about this at the cabinet committee, there was some serious criticism made about the technical detail of both the models that were on the table".

But in a change in tactics, the Government is now ordering its MPs to vote down the use of the "humble address" - and earlier this month blocked an attempt to get papers relating to the Windrush scandal released.

Business Secretary Clark visited Norway on Monday to examine the country's border with Sweden, according to another official familiar with the matter.

Both the government and the Labour Party have rejected joining the EEA because it would leave the United Kingdom subject to European Union rules after Brexit-though the House of Lords voted in favor of it last week.

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