Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Theresa May rejects United Kingdom financial services demands on Brexit

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Donald Tusk said his transport was'not frictionless Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Donald Tusk said his transport was'not frictionless
Andrew Cummings | 05 March, 2018, 00:15

The Tánaiste has said he is "not sure" that the European Union will be able to support the British Prime Minister's plan for avoiding a hard border in Ireland.

When asked if the backup border plan was inevitable, Cabinet Office minister David Lidington told ITV's Peston on Sunday: "I'm much less pessimistic than you are".

The U.K.is due to leave the 28-nation European Union on March 29, 2019, but the two sides have yet to negotiate new arrangements for trade, security, aviation and a host of other fields.

The issue is holding up agreement on Britain's exit terms and a transition deal.

But Irish Tanaiste Simon Coveney told BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show he was "not sure that the European Union will be able to support" the plan, as it would be anxious about protecting the integrity of the single market.

"While of course we will explore and look at all of the proposed British solutions, they are essentially a starting point in negotiations as opposed to an end point", he said.

Mrs May is adamant that a soft border can be maintained on the island of Ireland through technological solutions and placing no new restrictions on the cross-frontier trade from smaller businesses.

"Now we do have an opening negotiating position".

"She (May) has given a number of important reassurances today, which I welcome", Varadkar said."However I remain concerned that some of the constraints of leaving the Customs Union and the Single Market are still not fully recognised".

European Union and United Kingdom officials will be expected to discuss Mrs May's proposals on the border when they meet for technical talks from Monday to Wednesday in Brussels, which will also look at citizens' rights, the financial settlement and the terms of the transition.

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"No. Boris is absolutely clear that there won't be a hard border", she told the BBC's Andrew Marr, amid reports of tensions between Johnson and Downing Street over claims that May's chief of staff, Gavin Barwell, leaked the document.

He said Mrs May had "committed clearly" to this in December.

The Prime Minister used a high-profile speech to call for "pragmatic common sense" to deliver a Brexit deal that will be good for Britain and Europe, as she sent a message to Brussels: "Let's get on with it".

"I've said before that no deal is better than a bad deal, but I'm confident that we can get a good deal, and get the right deal for the British people", May said during her broadcast interview.

Mrs May also outlined plans for a "labour mobility framework" to allow businesses and self-employed professionals to work across the United Kingdom and EU.

He told Marr: "What Theresa May is doing is trying to dance on the head of a pin that simply doesn't exist".

Theresa May has said that signing up to "passporting" for the City of London after Brexit would leave the United Kingdom as "just a rule-taker", insisting that financial services will instead be covered through a free trade deal.

But senior Tory Sarah Wollaston, one of the MPs who has signed Ms Soubry's amendment, said the rebels would now give the Prime Minister "breathing space" to try to negotiate her own customs plan.

"I don't see how we could reach an agreement on Brexit if the United Kingdom government continues to bury its head in the sand like this", he said.

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