Ministers are still being persuaded Chequers deal is good, says Brexit secretary

Lloyd Doyle
July 22, 2018

"As I told the ministers, there are several elements in this white paper that open the way to a constructive discussion regarding the political declaration on our future relationship", Barnier told a news conference in Brussels following a meeting of European Union ministers.

'They're wrong. No bluffing, ' he said.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland on July 20, 2018.

"But also the British military bases in Cyprus, and obviously Gibraltar".

Johnson issued a blistering speech this week against May's "Brexit in name only" agreement. Frankly, it would not make us a credible partner for future global agreements'. "We need to de-dramatise things", he added. "But we need an operational backstop now in the Withdrawal Agreement, not later".

"We're creating an worldwide legal treaty, so we need legal certainty and legal clarity".

The Prime Minister attempted to deny these criticisms at a press conference in Northern Ireland on Friday, but just hours later Barnier - perhaps unintentionally - completely undermined her, telling reporters that one the "very positive" aspects of Chequers is that guarantees "the role to be played the ECJ as sole arbiter".

He indicated the European Union was ready to amend its "backstop" proposals for the Irish border, which have become the biggest stumbling block in talks.

"Brexit can not and will not justify additional bureaucracy", Barnier said.

"It's not necessarily our backstop". Introduced by lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg's European Research Group, the measures would prevent Britain from collecting tariffs on behalf of EU nations unless the EU does the same for them. We are doing that work.

In her first major Brexit speech since the wave of ministerial resignations which followed her Chequers deal, the Prime Minister described the white paper proposals as "a significant development of our position ... a coherent package". Not simply to fall back onto previous positions which have already been proven unworkable.

"And, on that basis, I look forward to resuming constructive discussions".

The Brexit aecretary said critics were mistaken to think May would not walk away without a deal if she had to.

"You can't have one side fulfilling its side of the bargain and the other side not, or going slow, or failing to commit on its side".

Alluding to the huge multi-billion subvention which Northern Ireland receives each year from Westminster, she said that the "principle of pooling and sharing our resources that defines the United Kingdom supports public services that people in Northern Ireland rely on".

After the Irish Times sought clarification on where exactly Mrs May would be visiting during her two-day trip to the North, a 10 Downing Street spokesperson provided a response which many have claimed sums up Westminster's attitude towards Northern Ireland.

"The notion of a hard border is nearly inconceivable, a seamless border must continue".

Twenty years after the Good Friday Agreement, the return of any form of physical checkpoints or other infrastructure would be "an alien concept".

She said that she had made "protecting and strengthening our own special Union an absolute priority" during her government's Brexit negotiations with the bloc.

Mrs May said: "We continue to do all we can to see the re-establishment of devolution and all of the institutions of the Belfast Agreement".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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