ibusinesslines.com November 17, 2018

UK's PM May odds of Irish border deal "50-50"

05 November 2018, 03:12 | Kelvin Horton

They suggested that a December deal would mean not only a later parliamentary vote but would require spending on no-deal planning and changes to the roles of hundreds of civil service.

Theresa May is hopeful of keeping Britain in a customs union and avoiding the need for a hard border in Northern Ireland after receiving "private concessions" from the European Union, according to reports.

Theresa May appears to have accepted that an open border with the Irish Republic is absolutely vital - despite its regular exploitation by organised criminals and illegal migrants - but can not leave Northern Ireland in the Customs Union by itself, as this would lead to customs checks between Britain's Home Nations.

Cabinet minister James Brokenshire rejected suggestions that final agreement has been reached, saying negotiations are "still very firmly continuing", with 95% of issues resolved.

The sides are debating how to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Mrs May is expected to brief the Cabinet on progress in talks when members gather for their weekly meeting at 10 Downing Street on Tuesday.

A special summit is understood to have been pencilled in for later this month to agree the final details of a deal.

The deal keeps open the possibility of Britain securing a future free trade agreement similar to the one signed between Canada and the European Union in 2016.

Sky (Frankfurt: 893517 - news) 's political correspondent Lewis Goodall said if Conservative Brexiteers are unconvinced that the customs union is only a temporary measure they would nearly certainly rebel.

"We are being asked to choose between the break-up of the Union - at least for economic purposes - or the subjugation of the whole country", said the Uxbridge MP.

"We need to stop before it is too late", he added - although he still seems unwilling to actually launch a leadership challenge.

Insisting that the United Kingdom should "junk" any solution keeping it in the EU's customs union, he said: "Brexit was meant to be about taking back control".

"We are making good progress on the future relationship, and 95% of the Withdrawal Agreement has been settled".

Brexit is undermining Northern Ireland's hard-won peace by creating tensions between Catholic and Protestant communities, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said Saturday, even as hopes rose for a solution to the Irish border problem that has deadlocked negotiations. "Are we being hurtled toward a Hotel California Brexit where we can check out but never leave?"

'I am assuming the Government will stick to its manifesto commitment to leaving the customs union when we leave the EU'.

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