Brexit: NI must stay in United Kingdom customs union, says DUP

Clay Curtis
October 13, 2019

Mr Varadkar has reiterated time and again that there will be no hard border in Ireland- the offer of a deal from Mr Johnson last week was rejected on the grounds that there would be checks on goods-vehicles crossing between Northern Ireland and the Republic. Officials in Brussels have said that discussions will be entering a "tunnel" phase where public disclosure of details will be kept to a minimum.

The Prime Minister is set to meet European Union leaders at the October 17 and 18 summit in Brussels.

But he ruled out making that declaration, offering to hold out for the "slightest chance" of success, after speaking with Mr Varadkar.

Plans by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to avoid concerns about hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit were criticised by European Union leaders at the last week.

EU Council President Donald Tusk said Friday morning that up until hearing of the proposals from Varadkar, he had been preparing to say that there was no basis for a deal before the upcoming two-day EU Summit on October 17 and "no more chances".

But Mr Johnson warned it was not a "done deal" and there was still "a way to go" to reach an agreement for the United Kingdom to leave the bloc on the October 31 deadline.

'I have received promising signals from the Taoiseach that a deal is still possible, ' Mr Tusk said.

A short while later, Mr Barnier hailed a "constructive meeting" with Mr Barclay, as leaders eyed a glimmer of hope for brokering a new divorce deal.

"Brexit is like climbing a mountain".

Mr Barclay and Mr Barnier were dispatched after the two prime ministers held face-to-face discussions in the Wirral yesterday, prompting the leaders to "see a pathway" to a possible agreement.

A British spokesman also described the closed-door talks as a "constructive meeting".

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He concluded that the company "thoroughly reviewed them" and believes that this decision best protected its users. CEO Zach Seward denounced "this kind of government censorship of the internet".

British and European Union negotiators have held a "constructive" breakfast meeting in a last-ditch bid to restart Brexit talks, as leaders insisted a deal might yet be possible despite time running out fast.

Sterling rose sharply on worldwide money markets in the wake of the talks, on which Cabinet received a briefing on Friday morning.

The Prime Minister has so far refused to say if he has backed down over the Irish border issue.

Briefings by anonymous Downing Street sources had accused Mr Varadkar of backtracking on previous commitments to try to find a deal, and of refusing to negotiate.

The deadline for Britain to leave the European Union is October 31, with Johnson threatening for months to do so without a deal if necessary.

Merkel and Macron are crucial to achieving the latter requirement and are likely to approve a delay in Brexit.

The PM has said that, while he will abide by the law, he is determined to leave on the Halloween deadline of October 31 come what may.

Whatever the outcome of the "tunnel" talks and next week's summit, United Kingdom lawmakers will be recalled on October 19, a Saturday, for an emergency parliamentary session.

Many MPs believe if he can not get a deal, Mr Johnson will use the occasion to push for a "people versus Parliament" general election, possibly as early as next month.

Even if Johnson is able to secure a deal, he would have to win over the DUP, or some or all of the 21 rebels in his own Conservative Party, as well as a section of the 20 or so Leave-supporting Labour MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit.

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