Frosty reception for Theresa May's Brexit backstop plan in Brussels

Marsha Scott
June 9, 2018

"A frictionless border is probably even more important than the levy or tariff", a source familiar with the contents of the meeting said.

And despite Davis's new wording, it had no formal time limit; it would have incentivised the European Union to leave us in permanent limbo, under its control.

Mr. Davis and other Brexiteers signed up last month to the "backstop" idea of keeping the entire United Kingdom tied to the bloc's Customs Union rules, if an Irish border solution is not found in time, so long as it was time-limited.

The focus must now be on getting a new trade deal.

James Hookham, deputy chief executive, Freight Transport Association, says the lack of progress on the industry's key demands of government for a trade agreement, means that those in the industry charged with maintaining the country's supply chain after Brexit are left with no means by which to operate effectively.

Friends of Mr Johnson said it was disappointing that the private dinner had been covertly recorded but senior Conservative Sarah Wollaston said dressing up the comments "under the cover of a "private" discussions won't wash". However, it wants a mechanism to be agreed to ensure that the UK's national interest is represented in negotiations up until its formal departure; this may be somewhere where the European Union could make a concession, but in no sense would it be obliged to.

DUP leader Arlene Foster says Barnier does not understand the wider unionist culture of Northern Ireland.

And he said Mrs May's plans for a temporary backstop were not in line with the needs of Brussels, Dublin or Northern Ireland for stability, turning one of her own slogans against her to declare: "Backstop means backstop".

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Barnier stressed he was not dismissing the British customs proposal, despite enumerating a series of technical questions which he said European Union negotiators would be raising with London.

A spokesman for the Department for Exiting the European Union said: "Our amendment removes Parliament's ability to direct the government in relation to negotiations, which would set a huge constitutional precedent in terms of which branch of the state holds the prerogative to act in the global sphere".

The EU backstop option has been rightly criticised for reducing the single market "access of Northern Ireland to ... goods, including agricultural and electricity".

But the government is struggling to find a way to fulfil this commitment while sticking to its plan to leave the EU's single market and customs union after Brexit.

The move was heralded by some as a significant shift by the Labour leadership towards a softer Brexit position, though several pro-EU Labour MPs said it would throw away the potential to defeat the government on the EEA amendment.

"A people's vote will be held before the end of March 2019".

According to BuzzFeed News, the leading Brexiteer joked to the Thatcherite campaign group that Donald Trump would "get somewhere" if he was leading the Brexit negotiations.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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