Published: Sat, October 13, 2018

Why Irish backstop will decide PM's fate

Why Irish backstop will decide PM's fate

Numerous problems are now being solved on a step by step basis "but there are, of course" several big issues which we really need to get to grips with, ' the prime minister said.

The Irish border "backstop", which seeks to avoid extensive checks on the frontier between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU state Ireland should the open border there not be maintained by a new, post-Brexit EU-UK trade partnership, is the biggest sticking point.

The UK government has sought to make any backstop agreement time-limited, but the European Union has rejected this.

Britain rejects the EU's proposed solution - to keep Northern Ireland inside the bloc's single market and customs union after the rest of the UK leaves - because it would create new barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK The EU has asked for a counter-proposal from Britain.

"He said: "[The backstop] would have to be finite, it would have to be short and it would have to be, I think, time-limited in order for it to be supported here.

Trade secretary Liam Fox told friends that her proposal "would make life very hard for me", according to a Mail report, because it would limit the UK's ability to strike new free trade deals outside the EU.

Either she is on the cusp of landing the Brexit deal few thought possible or her government is about to collapse around her ears.

For the government to fall there would have to be a subsequent vote of no confidence.

First, the good. Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, gave a speech saying that a deal could be done as early as next week.

"The majority of people in Northern Ireland are looking for something quite different from what the DUP is looking for, and yet the DUP is given this platform as if it speaks for Northern Ireland".

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said on Wednesday evening he is "cautiously optimistic" that progress will be made next week on the negotiations for Britain to leave the EU.

"We're voting on the two documents - a withdrawal agreement that needs to be able to stand up to legal scrutiny and court challenge; the second document is a political declaration on parameters".

Asked whether the United Kingdom could stay indefinitely in a customs union, Hammond said: "We're not going to remain in anything indefinitely, we're very clear this has to be temporary".

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