Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

British PM May briefed inner cabinet 'Brexit deal close'

British PM May briefed inner cabinet 'Brexit deal close'

They are insisting any arrangement that would see the United Kingdom remain part of the customs union after the Brexit transition period ends in December 2020 until a permanent trade deal can be thrashed out must be strictly time-limited - something the EU has been resisting.

"It's very important to us that business doesn't have to make two sets of changes, that there will be effectively continuity from the current set-up through the transition period into any temporary period and then a single set of changes when we move into our long-term new economic partnership with the European Union".

Under May's proposals, the whole of the United Kingdom would forge a customs partnership with the European Union after a transition period ends in December 2020 in the event of the backstop being triggered.

One complicating factor is that keeping Northern Ireland in the single market would have to be agreed by the Stormont Assembly, which has not met since collapsing in January 2017.

British and European Union negotiators are making headway on the Irish border issue, the biggest hurdle to an overall agreement, and hope for a Brexit deal breakthrough on Monday, diplomats said.

"I hope for progress and there is progress, but the devil is in the details, as they say", said Merkel, who was in The Hague for talks with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte .

Even if the negotiators themselves agree on a deal, it is not the end of the matter.

She repeated that Britain wanted a new trade deal by the end of December 2021 at the latest.

Cyclone Titli makes landfall in Odisha crosses coast
Maritime ports of: Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Mongla, and Payra have been advised to keep local warning signal no 4 hoisted. Cyclone hit the coast along the Bay of Bengal with surface wind speeds of 140 to 150 kilometres per hour.

The prime minister's refusal to bow to pressure from senior ministers to put a strict time frame in place now looks likely to spark a raft of resignations.

Downing Street also announced a further 29 no-deal notices would be published on Friday afternoon, setting out what businesses and consumers should do in the event of there being no agreement by 29 March 2019.

The issue of the Northern Ireland "backstop", the contingency plan in place to avoid a hard border, is thought to have been the main point of discussion at the meeting.

On Thursday morning, Mrs May's official spokesman told journalists that "big issues" still remained to be resolved between the United Kingdom and Brussels, which included the backstop and issues such as geographic indicators for goods.

"She will not have DUP support regardless of whether the government tries to bribe, bully or browbeat us into accepting it", Wilson also said.

The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Wednesday said Britain must accept possible checks on goods moving between its mainland and its province of Northern Ireland, saying Brexit would trigger the need for customs, value-added tax and compliance checks with EU standards.

"Many of her cabinet colleagues have assured me of their unionism", she said.

He hit out the "not so subliminal bullying" by Tories opposing her strategy in the middle of negotiations and also criticised International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, who declined to give the PM's plan her explicit backing when asked earlier this week.

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