May to hold Brexit War Cabinet to agree backstop plan

Lloyd Doyle
October 12, 2018

The deal believed to be on the table involves keeping the whole United Kingdom in an "arrangement" that effectively preserves the existing EU customs union, ensuring the goods continue to move freely over the Irish land border regardless of the future trade relationship between London and Brussels.

"And we are still open - we are still open - to the idea of having a customs union with the UK". She must negotiate a deal that is acceptable to the European Union, her own Cabinet, to backbench Tory MPs, and the DUP, groups which have diametrically opposed interests.

Writing in the Telegraph, Sammy Wilson MP, the DUP's Brexit spokesman, said Mrs May was pursuing "the road to parliamentary defeat" because his party would vote against any deal that included the proposed backstop.

Barnier said Brexit would trigger the need for customs, Value-Added Tax and compliance checks with EU standards between Ireland and Northern Ireland in the event that a planned "backstop" were triggered because a future EU-UK trade deal was not sufficient in itself to ensure the land frontier was not a "hard border".

"The Prime Minister is a unionist".

"I would advise them to hold firm against Brexit because either of these choices are unpalatable", he said at an event in London.

Theresa May told her inner Cabinet she is poised to agree a deal with Brussels that could see the United Kingdom tied to a customs union with the EU indefinitely, it has emerged.

The DUP has threatened to withdraw its support for the government if it is not happy with the final Brexit deal.

Mr Major famously branded rebellious Eurosceptics during his premiership "b*****s", but said those making life hard for Mrs May were even worse.


Earlier, asked several times if she backed Mrs May's approach, set out in a White Paper in July, Ms McVey told the BBC: "I am completely supportive of the prime minister as she well knows, what I won't do even for you right now is speculate".

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.

She repeated that Britain wanted a new trade deal by the end of December 2021 at the latest.

Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, said on Thursday afternoon that the prime minister could not "in good conscience" recommend such a deal and vowed to oppose it.

Brexit negotiations with the European Union have accelerated and become more positive over the past week, though significant hurdles remain, finance minister Philip Hammond said.

"For my perspective, to be blamed for Brexit when I neither supported the referendum or supported Brexit is a little bit tribal, unreasonable, I would say", he added.

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

Former Prime Minister Sir John Major, meanwhile, has said he has "great sympathy" for Mrs May, telling the BBC's Political Thinking podcast that "the way she's being treated by some of her colleagues is absolutely outrageous".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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