Mrs May: A new optimism after Brexit breakthrough

Lester Mason
December 11, 2017

The Brexit Secretary risked fury with Ireland yesterday after he said last week's tighly-fought deal was just a "statement of intent" and would not be signed off if there was no deal with the bloc.

Mr Juncker cautioned: "The joint report is not the withdrawal agreement. This, as far as we're concerned, is a binding agreement, an agreement in principle".

Theresa May is taking an upbeat stance on securing a Brexit deal, as Ireland insists the United Kingdom must stick to its commitments on keeping a soft border with the Republic.

Ireland's deputy prime minister Simon Coveney said the government was content at assurances it had achieved about avoiding a hard border.

And, rounding on the Taoiseach, Mr Paisley said that at the start of the week Mr Varadkar "had a ball at his toe and believed he was about to pull off a major coup of having secured Northern Ireland harmonised with the Republic of Ireland". But either way it confirms that Northern Ireland could remain an important place for ecommerce.

"They were warned that the effort to make the border the centre piece of the negotiations was misguided and that any discussion about the border was irrelevant until after the trade relationship part of the negotiations had been established".

Tory MP David Jones, a former Brexit minister, has warned this could "severely handicap" the UK's ability to enter free trade agreements covering areas such as agriculture with countries outside the European Union, including the US.

She will insist she has stuck to her principles on Brexit following a last-minute deal created to let negotiations switch to trade issues. "It is here, that potentially everyone becomes winners for real".

"Our manufactured goods overseas would be subjected to trade tariffs of between 2%-5%".

Those comments echoes something the North Antrim MP said last Monday when he appeared on former Ukip leader Nigel Farage's LBC radio show in London.

"I have always been clear that this was never going to be an easy process".

The party has said it will not accept any agreement in which Northern Ireland is treated differently from the rest of the UK.

Under the EU/UK agreement London will find a way to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland "through the overall EU-UK relationship" but if this can not be achieved, Britain will keep "full alignment" with the EU single market and customs union rules that are crucial to the Good Friday Agreement. "They are with Ireland on this because we are making a fair but very firm case and I believe other European countries will stick with Ireland". "You can call that what you want".

"But I do not think that they have damaged it".

The announcement came after Theresa May and David Davis made an early-hours journey to Brussels to meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

And, speaking on Saturday, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams reiterated his party's "very cautious and qualified welcome to the communique yesterday from European Union negotiators".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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