Published: Tue, November 06, 2018

Irish leader lays down red lines on Brexit border deal

Irish leader lays down red lines on Brexit border deal

According to the newspaper, May is also planning to reach an agreement on the EU-UK post-Brexit economic partnership, as she aspires to ensure free trade between London and Brussels.

Playing down reports that she is close to a deal with the EU, Mrs May will tell ministers that the key sticking-point remains how to avoid a "hard border" between Northern Ireland and the Republic after Brexit.

This comes as the former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has described a proposed Brexit deal with the European Union as an "absolute stinker" as he demanded MPs should reject it.

The UK is looking for an agreement based on an improved version of the EU's "equivalence" system of financial market access.

A Downing Street spokesman described Mrs May's conversation with Mr Varadkar as "constructive", adding: "They agreed that the intention was that the backstop should only be a temporary arrangement and that the best solution to the Northern Ireland border would be found by agreeing a future relationship between the United Kingdom and the EU".

His line was echoed by the EU's deputy chief negotiator, Sabine Weyand.

A Downing Street spokesman said Sunday the Times report was "speculation" and that negotiations with the European Union are ongoing.

Theresa May faces a Cabinet showdown with Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab after he privately accused Downing Street of undermining his attempts to solve the Irish border problem.

The Sunday Times report said preparations for a final Brexit deal were "far more advanced than previously disclosed" and that May's agreement would satisfy both remain-voting Tories and the hardline Eurosceptics within her party.

The Sunday Times claims the Prime Minister is optimistic that her secret plan will convince some remainer Conservatives and swithering Labour MPs to back the deal.

Theresa May accepts that this would be unacceptable - but her controversial "backstop" solution to the impasse involves keeping the entire country inside the EU's Customs Union in addition to adopting its regulations through a so-called "common rulebook", sparking outcry from Brexiteers who believe such an arrangement would be a "Brexit in Name Only", or BRINO.

The article quotes a senior Whitehall source as saying: "The PM will be able to say there's no more backstop, we've got rid of that - success. We need to stop before it is too late".

A No10 spokesman said the British and Irish leaders had agreed the backstop would "a temporary arrangement", but May had emphasised that there would need to be "a mechanism through which the backstop could be brought to an end". Under this plan we surrender control to Brussels.

Both sides agree there must be no customs posts or other barriers that could disrupt businesses and residents or undermine Northern Ireland's peace.

A spokesperson said: 'The prime minister has been clear that we are making good progress on the future relationship and 95 percent of the withdrawal agreement is now settled and negotiations are ongoing'.

"In classic Brussels style, at the 11th hour there will be a deal, I've no doubt about that".

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