UK Govt brushes off Brexit threat by N. Irish allies

12 October, 2018, 05:54 | Author: Mary Valdez
  • PA Wire  PA Images

Theresa May must abandon her plans for free trade deals with the rest of the world in order to get a Brexit deal, the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said yesterday.

Cabinet ministers briefed on the Brexit talks said the issue of the Irish backstop was close to being settled, the FT said.

Barnier is attempting to negotiate such a deal, but time is running out and European Union leaders have made it clear that they expect Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May to come up with a way to unblock talks before next week.

The de-facto Deputy Prime Minister was pressed on the DUP's support when he appeared on ITV's Peston on Wednesday night.

The agreement will also see Northern Ireland remain within the single market in a bid to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, should both sides fail to secure a trade deal after the transition period.

But he said that checks on animals and animal food products passing between Northern Ireland and Great Britain would have to increase tenfold. "Such a lovely morning" is all she would say to me.

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The OBR said if there was no agreement on standards everything would have to be resubmitted for approval: "In a scenario where the United Kingdom and European Union are unable to agree to the continued mutual recognition ('grandfathering') of existing product standards and professional qualifications, all existing goods may need to be re-approved before sale and services trade would be severely restricted by the loss of market access".

On Wednesday evening, DUP MPs abstained in a minor agricultural vote in Westminster to show they are not afraid to strong-arm the Government over proposed plans for the Irish backstop.

May's Conservative party has relied on the DUP's 10 MPs to pass legislation since losing its majority in the House of Commons in the June 2017 election.

Earlier on Thursday, May told Northern Ireland journalists that Irish border talks would likely continue until November.

The party's Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson later explicitly warned the Government against doing a deal that kept Northern Ireland in the Single Market, writing in the Telegraph the party could not support "any deal which includes such economically and constitutionally damaging arrangements".

The European Union is doing all it can to ensure checks on goods moving across Northern Ireland's borders would be made "in the least intrusive way possible", for example on ferries, at ports or in factories of origin, he said.

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