Brexit: EU offers border compromise as Cabinet to get weekly updates

Clay Curtis
October 24, 2018

May's backstop counterproposal is for the United Kingdom as a whole to stay in a customs union with the EU.

Addressing the British parliament on Monday, May said that the United Kingdom might ask for a short extension of a planned transition period to ease its exit from the European Union, or Brexit, which is due to take place on March 29, 2019.

"I don't intend to dignify those specific anonymous comments with a response", the spokesman told a regular Westminster media briefing.

In Brussels, meanwhile, all mention from the original European Union backstop of a customs territory is being scrubbed from the withdrawal agreement to be replaced with arcane references to regulation No 952/2013, which deals with the rules of the EU's customs territory that would apply to Northern Ireland.

Only 48 letters are needed for a no-confidence vote, which could trigger a leadership contest.

But updating MPs, Mrs May insisted the process was moving in the right direction, with the future status of Gibraltar and the UK's RAF bases in Cyprus having been settled in recent days.

She will tell the Commons that "taking all of this together, 95% of the withdrawal agreement and its protocols are now settled".

But the EU's shift, as talks move into an end-game where failure would see Britain crashing out of the bloc in March, is part of what one senior negotiator calls a "jigsaw" solution - elements of which on their own cross one side or the other's red lines but that, as a whole, form a package both can live with.

Theresa May has told MPs there may be limited circumstances when it is in Britain's interest to agree to a short extension to the transition period after it leaves the European Union in March 2020.

Gulbis loses to Tsitsipas in Stockholm Open final
The Greek had earlier lost his previous two finals to Rafael Nadal but was third time lucky to win a maiden ATP tour title. While the second seed is looking for his first-ever ATP title, Gulbis is a flawless 6-0 lifetime in finals.

Furious backbenchers warned the prime minister that she was "drinking in the last chance saloon" after tensions flared over her negotiating strategy following a Brussels summit.

"It's fairly high on the scale" of risk, Shapps told the BBC.

The Democratic Unionist Party, whose 10 lawmakers provide May with a slim working majority in parliament, say the EU's backstop proposal would tear Northern Ireland from the rest of Britain.

"Now we are going to go back and talk to the government about it". Conservative MPs fear this will lead to Britain being trapped in the EU's customs territory for years to come, unable to sign new free trade deals.

He added that whoever briefed in violent terms about the prime minister's future "needs to have the fullest weight of the Conservative Party upon them".

Labour MP Mrs Cox was murdered in her West Yorkshire constituency by right-wing extremist Thomas Mair, a week before the Brexit referendum in June 2016.

But Mr Raab said there could be no "indefinite limbo" inside the EU's customs union.

Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer said "to say that things have gone very wrong is an understatement".

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