Published: Sat, October 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

UK PM May struggles to find support

UK PM May struggles to find support

British negotiators in Brussels are thought to be preparing to sign up to a draft of the backstop for Northern Ireland - aimed at preventing a hard border - that could see the whole of the United Kingdom effectively inside the customs union.

First, the EU will never give a blanket pledge to deliver an end-state to the United Kingdom as beneficial as being in customs union without United Kingdom adhering to all the conditions of customs-union membership (the ones May and her government spurn, like a ban on doing free trade deals with other countries).

Theresa May has been put on notice by her allies in the Democratic Unionist Party to change course on Brexit or risk the collapse of her government.

McVey, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, refused to declare her support for May's Brexit plans on Thursday after International Development Secretary Mordaunt refused to do so earlier in the week.

The Times newspaper reported May was warned the issue was so serious that she could face further cabinet resignations unless she found a way to ensure the backstop was not permanent.

Rogers, who quit his post a year ago, said both May's plan, which would keep Britain in the European Union single market for goods, and rival Boris Johnson's vision of a looser free-trade deal have "precisely zero" chance of being accepted by the bloc.

The EU says a backstop must be "all-weather" and not have a specific cut-off date.

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

Other cabinet members, who appeared to not have been invited to the meeting, including Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, and Penny Mordaunt, the worldwide development secretary, were said to be frustrated with the lack of a time limit, and, according to The Times, citing an unnamed source, were considering their positions.

Eurosceptics want a time limit for how long Britain will keep following the EU's customs rules before it can strike out on its own and sign independent trade agreements with new partners.

Speaking to Northern Ireland journalists at her Downing Street office, May said on Thursday that talks on the Irish backstop were likely to continue until November.

The second part of the plan would see Northern Ireland stay in both the customs union and the EU single market.

Ahead of a crucial summit of European Union leaders next week, May "briefed her inner cabinet. that a historic Brexit deal is close", the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

"This isn't just one more little compromise from the prime minister to get a deal over the is the litmus test for the taking back control. this is the killer moment", a Cabinet source told BI.

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