Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

Brexit: British Prime Minister Theresa May faces backlash from within Cabinet

Britain's former Prime Minister Tony Blair attends an event at Thomson Reuters in London Britain Time's Running Out to Stop Brexit Labour Should Vote It Down- Tony Blair REUTERS Simon Dawson
Ginger Lawrence | 12 October, 2018, 16:29

The challenge facing the British PM now is to sell the latest formulation to the whole of her Cabinet and avoid any resignations, having already faced down the resignations of former foreign minister Boris Johnson and former Brexit minister David Davis back in July.

Negotiations between the two sides have focused on the proposals for a so-called "backstop" to ensure that there is no return to a "hard border" between Northern Ireland and the Republic after Britain has left the bloc.

One key obstacle remaining is the Irish border issue - on how to keep the new EU-UK land border with Northern Ireland open as it becomes the EU's new external border on the island of Ireland.

Barnier said Brexit would trigger the need for customs, Value-Added Tax and compliance checks with EU standards between Ireland and Northern Ireland in the event that a planned "backstop" were triggered because a future EU-UK trade deal was not sufficient in itself to ensure the land frontier was not a "hard border".

Theresa May must abandon her plans for free trade deals with the rest of the world in order to get a Brexit deal, the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said yesterday.

According to United Kingdom media reports, global development minister Penny Mordaunt, work and pensions minister Esther McVey and Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom are among those extremely concerned and may even be toying with the idea of stepping down.

"I think Brexit brings no added value, this is a negative negotiation, it is a lose-lose game, where nobody stands to win", Barnier said in the speech that was met with a standing ovation from small business leaders.

Meanwhile Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP, which supports Mrs May's government on key votes, has said Theresa May can not in good conscience recommend a Brexit deal that places a trade barrier on businesses moving goods from one part of the United Kingdom to another. "I sympathize with her on that but there is no answer to that problem", he told the audience.

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The UK and the European Union have yet to strike a deal on how Brexit will work, with less than six months to go before the UK leaves on 29 March.

Mr Coveney said: "It is a deal breaker".

Earlier, Brexiteer cabinet minister Esther McVey pointedly refused to endorse Mrs May's Chequers blueprint for Brexit, although she insisted Mrs May had her full support.

Barnier earlier in the day briefed European Union commissioners on the negotiations.

Downing Street's position is that it "expects" this arrangement remaining in place no later than the end of December 2021.

DUP MP Sammy Wilson has said that his party are fully behind Arlene Foster, despite speculation that the party leader could face the axe.

An angry DUP, whose 10 MPs prop up the Conservative Government, threatened to vote down the Autumn Budget, and last night sent a warning shot by abstaining in a vote on a Labour amendment to the Agriculture Bill.

Staying in a customs union would stop Britain from negotiating new trade deals.

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The U.S. and Chinese exchanges of penalty tariffs in their dispute isn't helping, she said. The group recently downgraded global growth forecasts .