Theresa May 'facing more resignations over her Brexit deal'

Clay Curtis
November 6, 2018

"In classic Brussels style, at the 11th hour there will be a deal, I've no doubt about that".

Mrs May will meet with her cabinet tomorrow to brief ministers on the status of Brexit negotiations, and to persuade them to rally round her solution to the Irish border issue.

The backstop has become the major obstacle to agreement on the UK's withdrawal from the European Union, due to take place in March next year.

The Brexit figurehead was responding to reports that Prime Minister Theresa May is close to striking a deal with Brussels which would allow the creation of a whole-UK customs union, avoiding the need for the Northern Ireland border "backstop" that has been at the heart of the impasse in negotiations.

"The (British) Prime Minister raised the possibility of a review mechanism for the backstop", the spokeswoman added.

In a phone call this morning Mr Varadkar told the prime minister that Ireland could not agree to any arrangement that allowed a future United Kingdom government to walk away from a commitment to maintaining an open border in Ireland.

"The EU will write an all-UK customs deal into the legally binding withdrawal agreement so an EU-designed "backstop" treating Northern Ireland differently from the United Kingdom mainland is not required", the Sunday Times said.

A spokesperson for Number 10 Downing Street described the reports as "speculation".

May's secret concessions from the European Union centre on checks at the Northern Irish border with the Republic of Ireland, which has so far been one of the biggest sticking points in Brexit negotiations. Appears any old deal now better than no deal'.

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The deal keeps open the possibility of Britain securing a future free trade agreement similar to the one signed between Canada and the European Union in 2016.

"Obviously still having this issue in relation to the insurance arrangements for Northern Ireland and Ireland, and that very much remains our focus and attention in getting that deal".

The backstop is an arrangement that applies if the Irish border can not be kept frictionless during a wider deal.

After meeting Friday with Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney in Dublin, British Prime Minister Theresa May's deputy David Lidington said negotiators were "very close" to an agreement.

It said Mr Raab made the proposal to Mr Coveney in London last week.

May is under intense pressure from several members of her cabinet to secure a mechanism by which any backstop agreements can be time limited and able to be terminated by the UK.

It came as more than 70 business leaders backed a referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal, warning that the United Kingdom faces "either a blindfold or a destructive hard Brexit" that would be bad for both firms and jobs.

According to the Telegraph, May has included Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, the government's chief legal adviser, in her special Brexit Cabinet after ministers said they wouldn't sign off on a deal without his advice.

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