Hopes for Brexit deal grow with 'major step' over border issue

Christopher Davidson
November 6, 2018

The Cabinet could meet again on Friday if a deal is on the table.

The Brexit secretary Dominic Raab had initially wanted the United Kingdom to be able to leave the backstop unilaterally, but both Mrs May and the Irish Foreign Minister rejected this.

Following the Cabinet meeting, Mrs May's spokesman said: "The Prime Minister said she was confident of reaching a deal".

Secretary of State for International Development Penny Mordaunt reportedly complained in the cabinet meeting that Brexit was "like a plane journey" and passengers "got anxious if they heard from the pilot mid-flight to say they weren't going to land when they were expected to".

In response, Sir Jeffrey said Dublin's stance was making a no-deal Brexit likely.

May hopes its inclusion in the Withdrawal Agreement would give her MPs confidence that the United Kingdom could not be locked into the EU's customs union.

Mrs May faces pressure from some Cabinet members not to agree to a solution that binds Britain to European Union trade rules indefinitely after it leaves the bloc in March.

The Daily Telegraph reported Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab wants the United Kingdom to have the unilateral right to end the backstop with three months notice.

Dublin has insisted it would not accept any unilateral United Kingdom ability to end a Brexit backstop agreement on the Irish border.

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And it also wants some kind of time limit or review mechanism, to prevent the United Kingdom being stuck in a "limbo" de facto customs union with the European Union until a new trade and customs deal with the EU is struck and implemented.

"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 added.

Mrs May's warning to the Cabinet will be seen as a plea to pro-Leave ministers to give any deal a fair wind even if it involves further compromises. But that goal has been complicated by May's intention to take Britain out of the EU customs union and single market.

The notes say ministers would seek to claim "measured success", a deal that is "good for everyone", rather than claiming a victory with champagne corks popping.

Looks like we're heading for no deal. In the 2016 referendum, they voted 52-48% in favour of Brexit.

With the United Kingdom due to formally quit the European Union on March 29 next year, and three months needed to ratify the plans, a squeezed timetable carried the risk of a "no-deal by accident" scenario, ministers were told.

He tweeted: "Such an outcome will have serious consequences for economy of Irish Republic".

Mr Stride responded: 'We are in the middle of a negotiation, at the appropriate moment when we know exactly what the deal is that is available that we have negotiated then we we will of course come forward with a full and comprehensive analysis of both the fiscal and economic impacts of that deal'.

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