DUP’s Foster challenges May with 'blood red lines' over new Brexit ‘backstop’

12 October, 2018, 11:30 | Author: Frank Williams
  • Pro-European demonstrators wave flags made up of the EU flag and British Union flag
Credit
Chris Ratcliffe  Bloomberg

The 27 remaining members of the European Union have might delay work on fleshing out their proposal for strong trade ties after Brexit and will instead focus on their own preparations this week, including contingencies for a "no-deal" scenario - given the profound divisions within May's camp over the terms of Brexit.

On Friday (12), the European Union ambassadors from the 27 non-British member states will meet in Luxembourg to discuss Brexit in the run-up to the summit, a diplomatic source said.

European Union's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier attends a media briefing with Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Dominic Raab, after a meeting at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on August 21, 2018.

He said there would have to be checks on goods travelling to Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom, because they would effectively be arriving in the EU's single market if there was no hard border with the Republic of Ireland.

In a move that will be viewed by many as a leadership bid, Mr Davis branded Mrs May's stance on Chequers as "preposterous" and demanded the government "reset" its negotiating strategy immediately.

The Prime Minister has come under growing pressure from Brexit-backing Tories to drop the plan agreed by the Cabinet at her country residence in July and instead seek a Canada-style free trade deal.

"If we stay on our current trajectory we will go into the next election with the government having delivered none of the benefits of Brexit, with the country reduced to being a rule-taker from Brussels and having failed to deliver a number of manifesto promises and on the Lancaster House speech", he writes. Therefore we could not support any arrangement which would give rise to either customs or regulatory barriers within the United Kingdom internal market.

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But with both sides confirming that differences remain on issues such as the status of the Irish border, expectations are growing that the final moment of decision will be put back to a special summit in November.

"It's not just a case of regulations between Northern Ireland and GB, it's also between GB and Northern Ireland".

At his latest appearance in parliament, where divisions over how to leave the European Union were on display, Raab moved to downplay one of the thorniest parts of the talks - a so-called backstop arrangement to prevent the return of a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland. We've made that very clear.

"But since we can't guarantee the result right now, we have to prepare for all possible outcomes", one diplomat said.

The Times said a group of between 30 to 40 Labour lawmakers could defy their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and vote for a deal that May hopes to bring back by the end of the year.

Trade from Great Britain into Northern Ireland would be in danger of restriction.

Other cabinet members, who appeared to not have been invited to the meeting, including Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, and Penny Mordaunt, the global development secretary, were said to be frustrated with the lack of a time limit, and, according to The Times, citing an unnamed source, were considering their positions.

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