Former UK envoy says May's Brexit plan a 'pipe dream'

Lloyd Doyle
October 12, 2018

A senior DUP MP said a Commons vote on Wednesday night that saw the party abstain on a piece of legislation for the first time since signing a pact to keep the Conservatives in power was a "warning" to the Government.

Prime Minister Theresa May's office insisted Friday (Oct 12) it would not "trap" Britain in an endless customs union with the EU after Brexit, amid reports some ministers could quit if this is the price of a divorce deal.

This, however, would raise the prospect of increased regulation checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Many question whether Britain and the European Union can finalise extremely complex negotiations on a new, broad trade pact in less than two years. The 3-months 25 delta risk-reversal jumped by 4.40% since the beginning of the week, signalling further optimism.

The only other option they have offered the United Kingdom is to keep Northern Ireland in the customs union and divide the United Kingdom with checks in the Irish Sea - something the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has roundly rejected.

Then, the bad. The DUP are threatening to vote down the budget if May signs up to a compromise they don't like.

Cabinet ministers briefed on the Brexit talks said the issue of the Irish backstop was close to being settled, the FT said. Britain rejects the EU's proposed solution - to keep Northern Ireland inside the bloc's single market and customs union after the rest of the UK leaves - because it would create new barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK The EU has asked for a counter-proposal from Britain.

Among those due to attend today's War Cabinet are: the Prime Minister's effective deputy David Lidington; Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary; Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary; Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary; Greg Clark, the Business Secretary; Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, and Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary.

Brexiteers and Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionists reacted angrily to the proposal, which Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, said meant a Brexit deal was now "within reach" by next week's key European Council.

"But that shouldn't hide the fact that we still have some big differences left to resolve", Hammond said.

Brussels wants this safety net - which is aimed at avoiding a return to a hard border on the island of Ireland - to be open-ended rather than strictly time-limited.

May hopes British negotiators can strike a deal over the weekend, which she can discuss with the cabinet on Tuesday.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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