May to hold Brexit War Cabinet to agree backstop plan

Pauline Gross
October 12, 2018

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said it was understood that the EU was prepared to accept the idea of the whole of the United Kingdom remaining in the customs union if a trade deal can not be done during the so-called "transition period", which is due to end in December 2020.

"And we are still open - we are still open - to the idea of having a customs union with the UK".

"Trade from Great Britain into Northern Ireland would be in danger of restriction".

Ahead of an upcoming European summit next week, the UK Prime Minister held a meeting with members of the Brexit "war cabinet" on Thursday to seek support for the newly proposed terms of the withdrawal agreement and prevent any potential resignations over her backstop plan.

"I am sure the Prime Minister is well aware of the grave responsibility which lies on her shoulders".

"We are simply reminding her, you are being torn at the moment between what we believe are your gut instincts and your sound principles on the Union and at the same time the bullying, threatening behaviour of the EU", said Mr Wilson at a meeting of DUP MPs and Assembly members in Portadown.

While London wants to regulate that by a future trade deal with the European Union, the bloc insists on an emergency fix in case negotiating new relations takes longer, or fails.

But it is opposed by some within her own party who argue it would compromise the UK's sovereignty - former foreign secretary Boris Johnson has led criticism and Brexiteers have backed a "Canada plus plus" deal instead, modelled on Canada's free trade deal with the EU.

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The issue has become a major stumbling block in negotiations ahead of next week's crunch European Union summit in Brussels, ahead of which the bloc has called for "maximum progress" in talks.

The plan would also involve keeping Northern Ireland in the single market to help maintain frictionless trade across the border with the Republic while mainland Britain would be outwith the single market. The party objects the backstop plan because it would effectively keep Northern Ireland in the single market for goods and therefore place a trade barrier on businesses moving goods from one part of the United Kingdom to another.

The document stated that the UK Government "expects" this arrangement to remain in place no later than the end of December 2021.

The DUP has stepped up warnings to Theresa May not to compromise over the Northern Ireland border in her efforts to secure a Brexit deal.

Numerous problems are now being solved on a step by step basis "but there are, of course" several big issues which we really need to get to grips with, ' the prime minister said.

"Many of her cabinet colleagues have assured me of their unionism", she said.

Other cabinet members, who appeared to not have been invited to the meeting, including Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, and Penny Mordaunt, the global development secretary, were said to be frustrated with the lack of a time limit, and, according to The Times, citing an unnamed source, were considering their positions.

Other reports by GizPress

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