Saturday, 17 November, 2018

May has EU concessions to keep United Kingdom in customs union

Party leader Arlene Foster, DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds and DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson at 10 Downing Street in central London DUP Blocks Latest Brexit ‘Compromise’ Rejects May Keeping UK Tied to EU Courts DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS AFP Getty 3 Nov 2018
Derrick Tucker | 08 November, 2018, 01:37

Simon Coveney and David Lidington, the UK Cabinet Office minister, said on Friday evening that there had been progress in negotiations that could resolve the deadlock and produce a deal this month.

This could give mainland Britain some scope to set trade rules while keeping the province of Northern Ireland aligned with the EU.

Britain wants instead to keep the whole United Kingdom in an EU customs union, but only temporarily.

However, in order for the EU to accept this compromise, Mrs May must convince her colleagues and the DUP to agree that Northern Ireland can only opt out of the customs union when another mechanism of ensuring a soft Border is agreed.

Here, Labour leader Brendan Howlin said he remained "very fearful" Irish interests could be sacrificed by Europe to secure a deal and said Ireland has to be "vigilant".

"If we can get a good deal, and that means removing all the frictions".

"So, we think there's a deal to be had if they recognise that the deal is unacceptable to Parliament, I think that opens up a vista of the opportunity of the real negotiations".

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The Channel 4 poll also revealed a national split over the prospect of Brexit triggering the break-up of the United Kingdom: 44% of respondents said they were very or quite concerned about the possibility of Northern Ireland leaving the United Kingdom, while 42% were not very or not at all concerned.

The poll showed sentiment shifting in whole cities, including Birmingham, Luton, Nottingham, Slough and Southampton, all now solidly "remain" having originally voted leave.

Mr Varadkar told the Irish state broadcaster RT: "Brexit has undermined the Good Friday Agreement and is fraying the relationship between Britain and Ireland".

Britain and Brussels need to strike a deal this month to enable it to win approval in the British Parliament and all other European Union member states before the March 2019 departure date.

However, the newspaper also reported that the new deal will include an "exit clause" created to convince those who support Brexit that remaining in the customs union is only temporary.

The letter, published in London by the Sunday Times, said: "The business community was promised that, if the country voted to leave, there would continue to be frictionless trade with the European Union and the certainty about future relations that we need to invest for the long term".

Some 20,000 people were questioned in a Survation poll for Channel 4 which estimated 105 local authority areas that voted Leave in 2016 would now be carried by the Remain side.

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