May insists Britain leaving EU customs union

17 May, 2018, 15:27 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Theresa May has ruled out a border poll

Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are said to have raised objections to the idea - but were "outgunned" by other ministers and reluctantly accepted defeat.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar is warning Britain to explain how it plans to keep open his country's border with Northern Ireland or face the possible collapse of a Brexit deal.

The report added that EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said this week that "no significant progress" happened since the European Union leaders' last meeting in March end and cautioned that key issues must be resolved before the June summit.

She said the objectives were that Britain should have its own trade policy with the rest of the world, should have frictionless trade with the European Union and that there be no "hard border" with European Union member Ireland.

The EU says this schedule is coming under pressure as there has been not enough progress in the negotiations in recent months, most importantly on how to avoid physical controls on the border between the Irish Republic and the Northern Ireland.

However, a legal text of the document produced by Brussels since then has been condemned as unacceptable by the PM as it would effectively draw a red line down the Irish sea and split the UK.

The source said extending the use of European Union tariffs was part of discussions to make the backstop arrangement more palatable to Britain, and could be triggered if there were a delay in the ratification of the Brexit deal or if there were problems introducing new technology at the border.

Ministers have signed off on a counter-proposal for a "backstop" that would United Kingdom effectively keep the United Kingdom in a customs union beyond the end of a mooted transitional period in December 2020.

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"It would have to include a sunset clause".

Labour used a rare parliamentary device called a "humble address" to try to force the publication of "all papers, presentations and economic analysis" on the two options which have split May's government and all but stalled Brexit talks.

The alternative, backed by hardline Brexiteers, would use technology to reduce the need for customs checks.

Ministers admit that neither option is now workable, and time is running short to get the necessary systems in place by the end of the potential transition period.

'We have gone from a clear end point, to an extension, to a proposed further extension with no end point.

'The bottom of the rainbow seems to be unattainable.

She admitted that achieving these "is not easy, it is difficult" but insisted that only her government will deliver on the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU.

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