May finds cabinet compromise with Brexit fall-back plan

Sergio Conner
June 9, 2018

The EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier welcomed the publication but stuck by the conditions that have led to a stalemate in the talks so far, and made clear Brussels would not accept any legal time-limit.

Mrs May believes this would keep the Irish border open, while avoiding creating a customs border between Northern Ireland and the British mainland, as the EU's backstop proposal would.

The government has proposed amendments to its Brexit legislation after the unelected upper house of parliament made 15 changes to British Prime Minister Theresa May's original plans, despite ministers' attempts to block them.

Ministers are also concerned as it does not state that Britain will be able to unilaterally decide when the backstop should end, which had been one of their key demands, the Telegraph reported.

EU negotiators have dismissed the idea as "magical thinking", while many Brexiteers are outraged at the idea of not fully leaving the customs union.

"I've always been clear that this was time-limited and as we've said today [Thursday] the end state at the latest will be in by the end of 2021 and we will be working to ensure that it is in earlier than that".

"The prime minister should urgently rethink her decision and back Labour's call for a new comprehensive customs union and new deal with the single market after Brexit".

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Mr Leslie said: "After weeks of the Government negotiating with itself, the fudged document they have produced doesn't engage with any of the key Brexit dilemmas and is highly unlikely to lead to anything but more gridlock in the ongoing talks with the European Union".

She rejected arguments that the 2016 result was "etched in stone" and should not be questioned, saying: "The will of the people is changing. the 48% is now over 50% and rising". The current draft withdrawal agreement envisages a transitional period, ending on 31 December 2020, during which the United Kingdom would remain a member of the EU single market and customs union but would no longer participate in EU decision-making. "Why? Because it has been designed for the specific situation of Northern Ireland".

"A reduction in British personnel available to work in European Union waters and vice versa. could have a severe impact on the industry, hampering the targets it is forecasting beyond 2025 due to unknown rising costs", the company said. "No panic. It's going to be all right in the end".

"We respect Britain's red lines".

The European Commission stands ready to aid countries hit by Britain's departure from the European Union and other external shocks, Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Friday.

Asked about the potential impact of the government failing to secure a Brexit deal, he said: "If we move to WTO (World Trade Organisation) rules that would definitely require customs declarations and so it would be similar types of costs".

THERESA MAY was accused of "fudging" a decision on Britain's membership of the customs union to avoid Brexit secretary David Davis storming out of the cabinet.

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