Thursday, 23 May, 2019

Financial Times reports: UK PM Theresa May says Brexit deal is close

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Ginger Lawrence | 12 October, 2018, 19:11

Brexit negotiations with the European Union have accelerated and become more positive over the past week, though significant hurdles remain, finance minister Philip Hammond said. According to Barnier, 85% of the divorce is already agreed.

Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to submit the Brexit deal to Parliament in December - and the vote could go against her, as several of her own colleagues are willing to vote against the deal.

This, however, would raise the prospect of increased regulation checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Blasting the proposed deal, she said: "Trade from Great Britain into Northern Ireland would be in danger of restriction". The 3-months 25 delta risk-reversal jumped by 4.40% since the beginning of the week, signalling further optimism.

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.

The DUP is propping up Mrs May's minority government and on Wednesday they threatened to vote down the budget and move to topple the government if the Prime Minister breaches their Brexit "red lines".

Cabinet ministers briefed on Brexit talks said the issue of the Irish backstop was also close to being settled, the newpaper said.

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The plan would also involve keeping Northern Ireland in the single market to help maintain frictionless trade across the border with the Republic while mainland Britain would be outwith the single market.

Among those due to attend today's War Cabinet are: the Prime Minister's effective deputy David Lidington; Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary; Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary; Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary; Greg Clark, the Business Secretary; Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, and Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary.

Some of May's ministers have urged her to put a time limit on that plan.

A Number 10 source said that the Government's position had not changed and "big issues" had yet to be ironed out.

Earlier on Thursday, May told Northern Ireland journalists that Irish border talks would likely continue until November.

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).

May hopes British negotiators can strike a deal over the weekend, which she can discuss with the cabinet on Tuesday.