Theresa May in compromise with ministers on Ireland border

09 June, 2018, 20:51 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Nathan Gill

Mr Leslie said: "After weeks of the Government negotiating with itself, the fudged document they have produced doesn't engage with any of the key Brexit dilemmas and is highly unlikely to lead to anything but more gridlock in the ongoing talks with the European Union".

Varadkar received a "cast iron guarantee" in December that there wouldn't be a border separating Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The commitment to a backstop was agreed in the Joint EU-UK Report of December a year ago.

Responding, Mrs May told the BBC: "This is a negotiation, Michel Barnier has said exactly that point". She also pledged to "explore workable solutions on the Ireland question".

"We respect Britain's red lines".

The British government is proposing a "temporary" customs arrangement that will delay the prospect of a hard border in Northern Ireland.

The idea is "to apply a temporary customs arrangement ... between the United Kingdom and the EU" that would allow the United Kingdom to sign free trade deals with other countries (but not implement the parts of them relating to tariffs, rendering them largely pointless). The DUP leader, Arlene Foster, said in early June that she would withdraw her support to May's government "if Northern Ireland was treated differently from the rest of the UK" after Brexit.

Theresa May's latest Brexit proposals received a frosty reception in Brussels, with chief European Union negotiator Michel Barnier raising objections to her plan for a time-limited customs backstop covering the whole UK. "I reject nothing. I ask questions".

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The prime minister appeared to have avoided a full-blown Brexit crisis and an explosive cabinet resignation after a "constructive" discussion with Brexit secretary David Davis on Thursday morning.

The EU backstop option has been rightly criticised for reducing the single market "access of Northern Ireland to ... goods, including agricultural and electricity".

"There is still an urgent need for clarity on non-customs checks, which account for three quarters of border stoppages". If it looks like and sounds like a customs union, it is a customs union.

In leaked comments obtained by BuzzFeed, Johnson dismissed concerns about the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic - one of the key issues in talks with Brussels - as "pure millennium bug stuff".

"I want to deliver for the British people, that's exactly what we are doing as a Government and if you look at the process of these negotiations - nobody ever said it was going to be easy". Notwithstanding the actual feasibility of this deadline, the ambiguity of that formulation raises two possible scenarios.

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said it was clear Mrs May's proposals were unworkable, while Best For Britain chief executive Eloise Todd said the backstop plan was "dead on arrival".

The European Commission stands ready to aid countries hit by Britain's departure from the European Union and other external shocks, Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Friday.

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