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Brexit deal next week "within reach" - Barnier
10 October 2018, 10:13 | Erica Roy
Downing Street plays down idea of Brexit agreement being reached next week
Britain is keen to move forward on a future relationship, especially after Prime Minister Theresa May's proposals, already in doubt among many of her governing Conservatives, were widely criticised at an European Union summit in Austria last month.
DUP leader Arlene Foster has repeated her insistence that there should be no customs or regulatory barriers between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and said she had made this clear to the British Prime Minister Theresa May.
The prime minister will hold an extended discussion on Brexit at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the eve of her trip to Brussels, where she hopes to outline a compromise deal on the Irish border.
It could effectively keep the whole United Kingdom in the customs union as a "temporary" measure until a broader trade agreement is finalised based on her Chequers blueprint.
And he told fellow MPs: "If we stay on our current trajectory, we will go into the next election with the Government having delivered none of the benefits of Brexit, with the country reduced to being a rule-taker from Brussels, and having failed to deliver on a number of promises in the manifesto and in the Lancaster House speech".
One of the key things they have not yet agreed is how to prevent there being new border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which is a member of the EU.
DUP leader Arlene Foster insisted on Tuesday that her party would not accept customs or regulatory checks on goods travelling in either direction between Northern Ireland and Great Britain after meeting European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels.
The Budget is due on October 29, after the next European Union summit and before any special Brexit summit that is expected to finalise the deal.
Barnier told small business leaders that the talks were "continuing intensively this week, day and night, with the aim. of having a deal within reach, if we follow through to the end of this negotiations, on October 17".
"If we followed Mr Barnier's advice, my information is that those checks would become 100%, although with a veterinary agreement in a future trade deal, that might be reduced somewhat", she said. Asked whether that implied her supporters are ready to "fight and die" for them, she replied: "What I meant by that is that they are deep red - they're not pink".
Steve Baker, Conservative MP for Wycombe, said he believed "at least 40" of his colleagues would vote against a deal along the lines the prime minister has proposed which would include this "backstop" for Northern Ireland.
"The only votes that she can depend on as leader of the Conservative party are Conservative ones". "It's an answer", the government source said.
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