Esther McVey won't say if she backs PM's European Union trade plan

Cornelia Mascio
Ottobre 12, 2018

British Prime Minister Theresa May was struggling on Friday to find consensus on Brexit proposals that would be acceptable to her ministers, her Conservative Party and the Northern Irish lawmakers who prop up her minority government.

DUP leader Arlene Foster warned ministers they "could not in good conscience" proceed with plans believed to have been agreed between European Union and United Kingdom negotiators to beef up regulators checks between Northern Ireland and Britain.

Asked by the BBC to offer her backing to Mrs May's plan, Ms McVey sidestepped the questions.

The deadline of 18 October, when the future EU-UK trade deal must be submitted to all remaining 27 EU members, is nearing.

Britain's global trade, environment and Brexit ministers told May at a meeting on Thursday that they fear the whole of Britain could remain in the EU customs union for an open-ended period, the BBC said.

The EU wants it to apply to Northern Ireland only, effectively keeping the country in the single market and customs union to avoid the need for customs checks.

The Irish backstop measure, created to ensure no new border emerges between Ireland and Northern Ireland, is supposed to be temporary until a UK-EU trade deal can be agreed, and Theresa May pledged earlier this year that the arrangement would expire "at the very latest by the end of December 2021".

It is understood that cabinet ministers Liam Fox, Michael Gove, Dominic Raab and Jeremy Hunt expressed concerns.

The DUP has threatened to withdraw its support for the government if it is not happy with the final Brexit deal.

But the European Union is mounting resistance to any specific time limit being included in the text of the UK's Withdrawal Agreement, while Leave-backing ministers are understood to be insistent that the end of the arrangement should be more precisely defined than the vague term "temporary".

"The prime minister is doing an exceptional job and everybody is behind her", he told reporters.

The prominent Brexiteer said that at least 40 MPs would vote down Theresa May's deal, even after "every possible technique" is used by the Government to persuade or force MPs to toe the party line.

Former Prime Minister Sir John Major, meanwhile, has said he has "great sympathy" for Mrs May, telling the BBC's Political Thinking podcast that "the way she's being treated by some of her colleagues is absolutely outrageous".

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt and the Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom also said to have "deep concerns".

Altre relazioniGrafFiotech

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE