McDonald - Ireland's needs cannot be treated as a 'footnote' in Brexit deal

Marsha Scott
November 4, 2018

Raab will visit the United Kingdom province of Northern Ireland on Friday on a "fact-finding trip", which will include meetings with local businesses and politicians, an official in his ministry told AFP.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier denied this report, saying only the EU could grant and withdraw equivalence for some financial services on its own.

"The UK's Financial Conduct Authority wants Britain to stay closely aligned with the European Union, but without Britain's having to copy all the bloc's rules, " the Acting Director of Strategy at the FCA, Richard Monks, said. Meanwhile, there have already been several obstacles to reaching an agreement on exactly how the backstop will work and for how long it will be required.

"I would be happy to give evidence to the committee when a deal is finalized, and now expect Nov 21 to be suitable", he wrote.

"I can not emphasise strongly enough that the Prime Minister feels absolutely committed to her pledge not to have under any circumstances a hard border on the island of Ireland", Mr Lidington said. "I certainly hope we are".

Simon Coveney and David Lidington, the UK Cabinet Office minister, said on Friday evening that there had been progress in negotiations that could resolve the deadlock and produce a deal this month. That will only happen if the divorce deal is signed.

The UK does not want separate status for Northern Ireland as this risks undermining its integrity.

The central bank's nine-strong Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted unanimously at a regular policy meeting to keep its key rate at 0.75 per cent and maintain its quantitative easing stimulus, it announced in a statement.

The EU compromise would placate Ireland and Northern Ireland, both against a hard border and gives the United Kingdom more guarantees around remaining in the customs unions.

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Such a deal would give the United Kingdom a level of access to the European Union similar to that of major U.S. and Japanese firms, while however tying it to many European Union finance rules for years to come.

S&P has an "AA" credit rating for Britain - a full step below its top-notch "AAA" rating - but it warned that any failure by London and Brussels to reach a deal would be likely to force it to cut the grade further.

Mary-Lou McDonald, who leads the left-wing nationalist party Sinn Fein, said Raab was "simply going through the motions" rather than seeking a solution.

McDonald said Britain would be acting "recklessly" if it backtracked on its commitment to avoid a hard border.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and Alliance Party leader Naomi Long also pressed Mr Raab for a backstop plan.

During his first stop to Warrenpoint Port, Raab was criticised for not meeting with public representatives and local people.

SDLP South Down MLA Sinead Bradley criticised Raab's lack of engagement with local elected representatives as "disgraceful".

Raab is also believed to have met with senior officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland at Newry Station just a few miles from the Irish border.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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