Published: Tue, February 12, 2019

Theresa May's newest Brexit plan to be revealed a day early

Theresa May's newest Brexit plan to be revealed a day early

Speaking after a dinner with Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay on Monday night, European Union negotiator Michel Barnier said the talks had been "constructive", but added it was "clear from our side we're not going to reopen the withdrawal agreement, but we will continue our discussions in the coming days".

Senior Tories have warned Labour's plans for a customs union with the EU are a "dangerous delusion", after Theresa May offered fresh Brexit talks with Jeremy Corbyn.

Boris Johnson accused Mr Corbyn of trying to "frustrate" Brexit by demanding a customs union, which he said would prevent the United Kingdom from striking its own trade deals.

Speaking to BBC radio Monday morning, Johnson said: "The argument is now about how to get out of the backstop".

I think you would need to have a time limit.

May is already due to update parliament on her progress towards a deal on Wednesday and then on Thursday to give parliament a chance to express their opinion.

She insisted her deal already met numerous conditions he had set.

"This new agreement lays the foundations for the two parties to continue their sound economic and trade relations once the United Kingdom has left the European Union", the Swiss government said in a statement (here in English).

"The idea that you can have a customs union with the EU and at the same time, as an outside country, have an effect on EU trade policy, is to not understand the EU treaties".

She also questioned whether the call for completely "frictionless" trade would mean reneging on Labour's commitment to end free movement by requiring single market membership.


Although Britain's Treasury chief Philip Hammond argued the British economy remains "fundamentally strong" and is "enjoying the longest unbroken quarterly growth streak" among the Group of Seven industrialised countries, he conceded that Brexit unease was taking its toll.

It also follows an exchange of letters between Mrs May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The Prime Minister has previously ruled out a customs union, which would restrict the UK's ability to strike trade deals, and could face Cabinet resignations if she changed her position.

She did not reject any of his conditions outright in her reply.

Mrs May's statement to the House of Commons is being made a day earlier than had been expected.

This is despite Mr Corbyn repeatedly saying there should be a general election if Mrs May can not get a deal through Parliament.

There appears little prospect of an imminent breakthrough with Brussels, and Mrs May might not bring her deal back for a decisive vote this month.

Labour's Brexit policy chief Keir Starmer told the Sunday Times newspaper that his party would seek to use the debate in parliament this week to prevent May from waiting until the last minute to come back with a deal, and compel her to present a fresh accord for lawmakers to consider before February 26.

Housing secretary James Brokenshire it would be allowing her more time to come up with a compromise.

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