Tuesday, 13 November, 2018


Could there be a Brexit deal in November?

EU to offer Irish border compromise in Brexit talks - sources Ireland Rejects British Emergency Plan on Brexit
Kristine Garrett | 09 November, 2018, 14:13

A leading Irish politician has blasted Brexiteer claims that a Northern Ireland border backstop is unnecessary as "completely unfeasible", warning that the peace process would be under threat without a deal.

Hopes of a breakthrough have been raised after Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar said he was "open" to such a deal, although he reiterated his red lines on Brexit.

The backstop plan enraged the DUP, which is propping up May's Conservative government at Westminster, and the PM has since said she could "not accept" any deal that would require a customs border between the North and Great Britain.

At the regular weekly meeting in 10 Downing Streets, senior ministers discussed proposals for a "review mechanism" to ensure that the United Kingdom is not stuck indefinitely in a possible backstop arrangement created to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

Following the Cabinet meeting, Mrs May's spokesman said the Prime Minister had told colleagues that 95% of the withdrawal agreement was now concluded, but "on the Northern Ireland backstop, there are a number of issues we still need to work through, and these are the most difficult".

Some at the highest levels of government fear that, unless progress is agreed by Tuesday when the May sees her senior ministers and parliament breaks for recess, the cabinet may not have a direct input before a summit announcement is made.

'If we can get a good deal, and that means removing all the frictions.... the Chequers-type deal, as I say, if we don't have friction with trade, then, economically, I don't think it's going to make a particular big difference one way or the other'.

British trade minister Liam Fox said on Tuesday it was "impossible" to say whether a Brexit deal could be reached with the European Union this month or next, but that Britain wanted an agreement, and a deal is better than no deal.

Since a deal that included keeping all the United Kingdom inside European Union customs rules was rejected by Prime Minister Theresa May on October 14, negotiators have worked to narrow differences.

Any agreement will depend on an "acceptable" framework for future relations on trade and security, to be covered in a separate political declaration, Downing Street said.

In response to tweet from Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney on Monday, the DUP's chief whip in the House of Commons, Jeffrey Donaldson, cautioned that it "Looks like we're heading for no-deal".

A no-deal outcome, he said, "will have serious consequences for economy of Irish Republic".

"The Cabinet seems divided, the Government seems divided, Parliament is divided, and that has made it very hard to come to an agreement".

Justice Secretary David Gauke warned that a no-deal Brexit would be bad for the UK.

The Brexit-supporting minister, who already has a powerful position within the cabinet as ministers demand to know more on government legal advice, is emerging as an increasingly significant player in May's plan to get her cabinet on board. "Given that neither was on the ballot in 2016, we believe the ultimate choice should be handed back to the public with a People's Vote".

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