ibusinesslines.com December 14, 2018

May Secures Key EU Brexit Concessions on Customs, Times Says

06 November 2018, 09:09 | Erica Roy

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In a phone call this morning Mr Varadkar told the prime minister that Ireland could not agree to any arrangement that allowed a future United Kingdom government to walk away from a commitment to maintaining an open border in Ireland.

"The Taoiseach (Prime Minister) indicated an openness to consider proposals for a review, provided that it was clear that the outcome of any such review could not involve a unilateral decision to end the backstop", the statement said.

Theresa May faces a Cabinet showdown with Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab after he privately accused Downing Street of undermining his attempts to solve the Irish border problem.

Asked about the government's position on the Irish backstop, the spokesman said: "The position that we have set out is we don't want the backstop to be in place indefinitely and we will be looking to a mechanism to achieve that".

The Irish Premier Leo Varadkar also added to tensions by saying he would never agree to give the United Kingdom "unilateral" power to decide when to pull out of the backstop.

An open frontier is seen as crucial to preserving the 1998 Good Friday peace accord that ended decades of Irish sectarian bloodshed.

"The EU will write an all-UK customs deal into the legally binding withdrawal agreement so an EU-designed "backstop" treating Northern Ireland differently from the United Kingdom mainland is not required", the Sunday Times said. But that goal has been complicated by May's intention to take Britain out of the EU customs union and single market.

In a major intervention on the controversial backstop, amid reports that the government plans to keep Northern Ireland in aspects of the European Union trade structures, Mr Davis said it was "pretty clear there is genuine and significant concern regarding the implications of any fresh backstop text".

Ms McDonald was accompanied by her party's vice president Michelle O'Neill and South Belfast MLA Mairtin O'Muilleoir at Belfast City Hall as they met business leaders who have raised concerns about the impact of Brexit on labour supply.

The online poll of 20,000 people, conducted by Survation, estimated Remain would win another in/out referendum by 54%-46% and that 105 local authority areas that voted Leave in 2016 would now be carried by the Remain side.

She urged him to "show leadership" and not "leave behind" the people of Northern Ireland.

Grieve rejected the argument that MPs should back whatever deal Theresa May secures in order to avoid a disorderly exit from the European Union, repeating his call for any deal to be put to a second referendum.

During a visit to Dublin on Friday, May's de facto deputy David Lidington said the United Kingdom and the European Union are "certainly very close to resolving" the Irish border issue.

Lidington also said London would stand by the written commitments it had already made on the backstop, which include the agreement that it would apply unless and until a better solution is found.

It has so far suggested a backstop that would see the United Kingdom as a whole remaining aligned with the EU customs union, possibly for a limited time.

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