Published: Sun, November 11, 2018

UK Cabinet Shown Brexit Deal Text as Talks Near Endgame

UK Cabinet Shown Brexit Deal Text as Talks Near Endgame

At a weekly cabinet meeting, May told ministers she expected an agreement and wanted it as soon as possible - but it would "not be done at any cost", according to her spokesman.

May will still need to get the deal, including the so-called Irish border backstop plan, approved by her Cabinet and later by Parliament - where she's likely to face considerable opposition.

The cabinet took no decisions and more work had to be done on the British side, he said.

But Brexiteers want the British government to have the power to unilaterally end it.

The main obstacle to an agreement is how to keep goods flowing smoothly across the border between the Republic of Ireland, an European Union member, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K. All parties have committed to avoid a "hard border" with costly, time-consuming border checks that would hamper business.

The European Union's fallback proposal aimed at avoiding a hard border between Ireland and the United Kingdom would effectively keep Northern Ireland aligned with Brussels's customs union and single market.

Mrs May is under intense pressure to publish the full legal advice setting out how any customs arrangement to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland could be ended.

A memorandum leaked from within the British government gives a taste of a possible finale to the Brexit drama: Prime Minister Theresa May hails a deal in just over 10 days, supporters cheer as arranged, and the pact is put to a vote in parliament on November 27.

Tory Remainer Dominic Grieve said a border in the Irish Sea would be "unacceptable".

"However, it is of concern that the Cabinet Office seems to be under instruction to keep from the public and from Parliament any ability to make a comparison between the deal and the arrangements we already have inside the European Union".

British prime minister Theresa May has invited ministers to review the text of a withdrawal agreement.

European leaders are awaiting Barnier's assessment as to whether sufficient progress has been made in the Brexit negotiations for an EU summit to be convened to announce a deal.

Speaking to a conference of the centre-right European People's Party (EPP) in Finland, Mr Barnier said: "The European project is fragile, it is under threat, it is perishable and at the same time it is vital".

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