Brexit negotiators considering transition extension

17 October, 2018, 18:55 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Dominic Raab

"There have been a lot of reports lately, mostly on social media, that my department has been planning to lower food and farming standards when negotiating Free Trade Agreements post-Brexit", Fox will tell farming industry representatives in a speech.

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May will also have separate meetings with key figures on the border question: Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.

The Financial Times reported that EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is open to a possible one-year extension to the Brexit transition, should Mrs May accept a "two-tier" backstop.

The prime minister is due to hold a special Brexit-focused Cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning knowing that her next move in negotiations could trigger mass resignations and risk the collapse of her government.

This would be an extension by one year of the transition from 21 months to 33 months so that the United Kingdom would effectively remain inside the European Union - though stripped of all voting rights and influence - till the end of 2021.

The Democratic Unionist Party, which is propping up Mrs May's government in Westminster, said the EU's backstop suggestion whereby Northern Ireland would continue to follow the bloc's rules if no trade deal is struck would create barriers with Great Britain.

Many suspect that will not be enough time, which has led the European Union to demand a "backstop" to ensure there are no customs posts or other controls along the now invisible border between the U.K.'s Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland. Disagreement over the backstop has brought divorce negotiations to a standstill.

Upper Bann MLA Mr Aiken said Mrs Foster's plea for calm ahead of Wednesday's crunch European Council summit was in "direct contradiction" to comments attributed to other senior members of her party.

May reassured MPs on Monday that she would not accept the EU's demand that the backstop plan for the United Kingdom to stay in the customs union after Brexit to be indefinite.

European Union officials, though, have warned no-deal is "more likely than ever before".

Yesterday Theresa May came under fire from Leavers and Remainers as in Parliament she refused several times to say when a so-called Irish backstop arrangement would end in the event of no formal Brexit trade deal being reached.

And Mrs Leadsom herself said: "The Prime Minister is doing a very, very complicated job and I'm fully supporting her in getting that done".

"I'm convinced that if we as a government stand together and stand firm, we can achieve this", she said, according to her spokesman.

Her idea is that a future trade arrangement would be so comprehensive as to avoid the need for border checks on the island of Ireland.

The U.S. administration has notified Congress that it will seek trade pacts with the EU, Japan and Britain.

Mr Corbyn said International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt and Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey have refused to say they backed the Chequers plan, joking: "Maybe she could share a pizza with them and sort it out".

The Labour leader went on to claim the Tories were too busy fighting among themselves to negotiate effectively with the EU.


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