Hold tight for a Brexit breakthrough, May tells Cabinet

07 November, 2018, 09:41 | Author: Tara Reeves
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"The Taoiseach (Prime Minister) indicated an openness to consider proposals for a review, provided that it was clear that the outcome of any such review could not involve a unilateral decision to end the backstop", the statement said.

"The prime minister said that, once agreement was reached on a withdrawal agreement, it remains the case that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed and it will be subject to securing an acceptable full future framework".

A cabinet meeting can be called at any time but it is now expected that the deal will be signed off in December's European Union summit.

Brexiteers are increasingly anxious the backstop will keep the United Kingdom tied to the European Union and many of its rules indefinitely, with the bloc insisting there is no way to keep the Irish border open and allow the United Kingdom to have different trade policies.

With just five months until Britain is due to leave the EU, May has yet to nail down a divorce deal, with the insurance arrangement to keep open the border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and EU member state Ireland still the outstanding issue.

Speaking at the Great Catholic Conferences in Brussels, Mr Barnier stressed that Britain will remain "in all likelihood" a "neighbour, partner and ally" after March 2019.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), whose 10 MPs prop up Theresa May's government, warned on Tuesday that the United Kingdom is heading for a no-deal Brexit, even after Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar on Monday signalled a willingness to consider a review process for the Northern Ireland backstop. The agreement would "not be done at any cost", her official spokesman said.

Theresa May is expected to brief her cabinet today on proposals to avoid a hard border in Ireland through a UK-wide customs arrangement that would eliminate most checks on goods.
To ease Conservative fears that the United Kingdom could effectively stay in the EU customs union indefinitely, preventing trade deals with other countries, Downing Street is pushing for a review mechanism that would allow the United Kingdom to exit the arrangement.

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In response, Sir Jeffrey said Dublin's stance was making a no-deal Brexit likely.

The crunch meeting comes amid mounting pressure to finalise the withdrawal agreement in order to announce the leaving terms at a special summit in November.

"While we too hope the Northern Ireland backstop will never be required to be used, it will be required to be written down in legal text".

Responding to Ireland's rejection of a time-limit or a United Kingdom ability to unilaterally exit a backstop, the DUP's chief whip Jeffrey Donaldson warned: "Looks like we're heading for no deal".

"Looks like we're heading for no deal", he wrote on Twitter, adding: "Can't understand why Irish government seems so intent on this course".

"Deal or no deal, it's becoming clearer by the day that the United Kingdom is headed for a miserable Brexit".

Britons wanting to take their pooches or other beloved pets with them face a slew of new checks if there is a no deal Brexit.

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