Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Brexit deal next week 'within reach': Barnier

Losing the party's support in the Commons would mean possible defeat on the budget and a no-confidence vote for Theresa May Losing the party's support in the Commons would mean possible defeat on the budget and a no-confidence vote for Theresa May
Kelvin Reese | 12 October, 2018, 22:54

"In breaking her promises she would be agreeing to break up the United Kingdom".

Theresa May is under pressure to reverse course after Cabinet ministers threatened to walk out over her reported plans for a potential Brexit "backstop" which could effectively keep Britain permanently inside a Customs Union with the EU after Brexit.

The Northern Ireland Retail Consortium (NIRC), which was also at the meeting, said the deal on the table was uniquely beneficial to Northern Ireland's economy, which would suffer disproportionately from Brexit.

The Irish backstop measure, created to ensure no new border emerges between Ireland and Northern Ireland, is supposed to be temporary until a UK-EU trade deal can be agreed, and Theresa May pledged earlier this year that the arrangement would expire "at the very latest by the end of December 2021".

To compound the British PM's troubles, the ruling party's Northern Irish allies - Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) - are threatening to pull out their support and effectively bring down the Tory government if May gave in to the European Union demands over the Irish border issue ahead of a crucial summit in Brussels next week.

Asked if there was concern about the DUP's threats to withdraw its support, the Prime Minister responded saying "the DUP will do what the DUP will do".

May's Brexit plan is unpopular with the public and the majority of the cabinet reportedly now prefer a free trade deal.

"We are not there yet".

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As key Cabinet members met in Downing Street, they were warned by DUP leader Arlene Foster that they could not in "good conscience" accept the proposals now on the table from the EU. Britain's Brexit minister, Dominic Raab, could also come to Brussels then if weekend talks cover enough ground.

More than 80% of Warrenpoint Port's trade is to and from Britain.

The 27 states remaining in the bloc hope to announce "decisive progress" in divorce talks at an European Union summit next week and then finalise their offer of close future ties with Britain next month.

"She will not have DUP support regardless of whether the government tries to bribe, bully or browbeat us into accepting it", Wilson also said.

EU Brexit pointman Michel Barnier and Martin Selmayr, the powerful head of the EU Commission's bureaucracy, briefed commissioners on progress just a week before the October 18 meeting that has been dubbed a "moment of truth".

The parliamentary arithmetic is hard for May who commands a majority of only 13 lawmakers including the DUP.

"Eurosceptics are wrong to argue that the European Union will inevitably become a less important market for the United Kingdom because the European Union economy will grow less rapidly than the USA or major emerging markets, such as China and India", the report said.

In a Q&A session with Reuters, Tony Blair advised parliamentarians to vote the Brexit deal down.

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