Monday, 19 November, 2018

Brexit: Irish rule out time-limited Brexit backstop

Preparation Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney at the Brexit event Preparation Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney at the Brexit event
Jay Anderson | 05 November, 2018, 23:19

And EU deputy chief Brexit negotiator Sabine Weyand backed Ireland when it warned that a time-limited backstop on the Irish border would never be acceptable.

Instead, the European Union would accept that regulatory checks on goods can be carried out in factories and shops rather than at the border.

Downing Street confirmed the call had taken place "to take stock of the progress being made in the negotiations", and the two leaders discussed the outstanding issues in the Brexit talks. Is the future of the union stake?

The Sunday Times also adds that preparations for a final deal are more advanced than now publicised, with a document of 50 pages or more potentially on the cards.

A senior EU source said the United Kingdom prime minister would need determine whether she could sell an open-ended customs union to her party, but the calculation in Brussels was that it would be acceptable to the House of Commons as a whole.

Insisting that negotiations are "ongoing" at a technical level, the Commission's chief spokesman summed up progress by telling reporters: "Not there yet".

This would keep the whole of the United Kingdom in the customs union to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

At the same time, it reported that the prime minister was on course to agree a future economic partnership that would leave open the possibility of Canada-style free trade deal sought by Brexiteers. "We hope a deal can be done but we're not there yet".




The EU has proposed keeping Northern Ireland inside a customs union with the bloc to remove the need for border checks on the island.

Baker said: "If we are going to regulate our own economy, if we are going to have our own independent trade policy, if we are going to be a normal independent country - which is what I understood the referendum result to have decided - then we need to be out of the customs union and we need to get out of the customs union in a timely way".

A spokesperson for the PM said: "This is all speculation".

"This is the backstop", he added, saying the United Kingdom had agreed that it would apply "unless and until" a close future relationship eliminated any need for Border infrastructure and checks. "Are we being hurtled toward a Hotel California Brexit where we can check out but never leave?"

"We hope a deal can be done but we're not there yet".

While the European Union has refused to accept a backstop that does have a time-limit.

They suggested that a December deal would mean not only a later parliamentary vote but would require spending on no-deal planning and changes to the roles of hundreds of civil service.

Other people who put their name to the letter include Cobra Beer founder Lord Bilimoria, the former Marks and Spencer chairman and ex-Labour peer Lord Myners, Alex Chesterman, the founder of the Zoopla property website, and Sir Simon Robertson, the ex-chairman of Rolls-Royce.

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