UK Prime Minister May introduces Brexit 'business councils'

Remigio Civitarese
Novembre 10, 2018

Brussels will include a plan to put a customs border in the Irish Sea if there is a no-deal Brexit, a leaked letter from Theresa May suggests.

Foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney said that even if the British cabinet agrees exit plans in the coming days, the rest of the European Union must also back them.

I would urge caution that an imminent breakthrough is not necessarily to be taken for granted, not by a long shot.

But he rejected the idea Britain could unilaterally end the arrangement, something Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and other eurosceptics in May's Conservative party want.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that British Prime Minister Theresa May "is, as we are, chose to have the deal, and we will have a deal".

The main obstacle to an agreement is how to keep goods flowing smoothly across the border between the Republic of Ireland, an European Union member, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K. All parties have committed to avoid a "hard border" with costly, time-consuming border checks that would hamper business.

Some cabinet ministers want to see the full legal advice given to May setting out how any customs arrangement could be ended to avoid it becoming a permanent settlement.

Former Brexit secretary David Davis said the full government legal advice on Brexit must be published and insisted how the United Kingdom could exit from the customs union must be "pinned down" before MPs and peers vote on the deal. In a phone call with May on Monday, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said he would consider a "review mechanism" for the backstop.

May's plan would see the whole United Kingdom effectively agree to remain in the customs union to help avoid a hard border with Ireland as a backstop if no other arrangement can be found.

Senior ministers have been invited into a private reading room in a building adjoining May's offices to examine the 95 percent of the withdrawal package that's been agreed so far, according to people familiar with the matter.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that, while the Attorney General's legal advice to government is considered confidential, he could answer MP's questions about it.

"We will need to be satisfied in the negotiations that we have achieved the best deal that we possibly can for the United Kingdom", he said.

Michel Barnier cited the anti-EU British MEP Nigel Farage as a cautionary example at a conference of the centre-right European People's Party.

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