wnol.info June 21 2018

Dodds welcomes Brexit backstop proposal as a 'step forward'

June 21 2018, 12:22 | Irvin Gilbert

GETTYMr Barnier accused the UK of failing to provide a firm negotiating position

Michel Barnier

The group is calling on MPs to force a referendum on the deal secured by prime minister Theresa May, with an option on the ballot paper of keeping the United Kingdom in the European Union.

Mr Johnson (above) also said the Treasury was "a quivering wreck" over economic disruption but Theresa May was going to be "more combative with Brussels", according to a recording of a meeting with Tory members obtained by Buzzfeed.

And he reportedly said it is "beyond belief" the Northern Ireland border had become an obstacle, dismissing concerns about disruptions as "pure millennium bug stuff". The "backstop" customs arrangements under discussion Thursday would be implemented if Britain and the European Union fail to agree to a broader trade deal that would protect the status quo.

Barnier also questopmed if the backstop would last. And amid the torturous, anorakish Brexit debate, replete with talk of backstops, a customs union, the Customs Union, a customs partnership, max fac, regulatory alignment, regulatory divergence, cherry-picking and cake-eating, it is a question that we can not let escape us.

Michel Barnier questioned whether the U.K.'s proposals to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland would work because they are time limited.

"We respect Britain's red lines".

May's Conservative government is split between ministers who favor a clean-break "hard Brexit" - leaving Britain freer to strike new trade deals around the world - and those who want to keep closely aligned to the EU, Britain's biggest trading partner.

On Wednesday reporters asked Davis if he would quit if the backstop did not have his explicit approval, replying: "That's a question I think for the prime minister, to be honest".

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The UK government concedes, however, that to uphold its commitments with regard to the Irish border "an approach on regulatory standards ... will also need to be addressed".

The DUP, meanwhile, will not accept the EU's preferred option of creating a customs border in the Irish Sea, as it threatens the "constitutional integrity" of the union.

A spokeswoman at May's office was not available when called by Reuters for comment. "We are happy and ready to step up the frequency of our negotiations".

Britain now expects the future arrangement to be in place by the end of December 2021 at the latest, a year after the end of the post-Brexit transition period. Notwithstanding the actual feasibility of this deadline, the ambiguity of that formulation raises two possible scenarios.

The British government has published its plans for "backstop" customs arrangement with the European Union after Brexit, which includes an "expected" cut off date of December 2021. Alternatively, the European Union may ask for a second backstop option without any time limitations specific to Northern Ireland.

Prime Minister Theresa May declined to say Wednesday when the government would publish a promised document setting out its negotiating position.

Launching the roadmap in Westminster, Best For Britain chief executive Eloise Todd said: "A people's vote will be held before the end of March 2019". For a region that became famous for its divisions, such a role is nearly a historical irony.

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