Theresa May refuses to back down over backstop time limit

Frederick Owens
October 12, 2018

But no less absurd than this appalling notion is the idea that the whole United Kingdom should, in effect, remain in the Single Market and Customs Union indefinitely to "solve" the alleged border problem.

However Tory Brexiteers fear that she is about to concede to European Union demands that it must be open-ended, despite previous assurances from ministers it would have to be time-limited.

As part of the EU, Britain benefits from seamless trade with the bloc, its biggest trading partner.

Earlier, asked several times if she backed Mrs May's approach, set out in a White Paper in July, Ms McVey told the BBC: "I am completely supportive of the prime minister as she well knows, what I won't do even for you right now is speculate".

Other Brexit campaigners, however, are said to agree that a firm time limit risks derailing talks with the European Union and fear the so-called no-deal Brexit would be the worst outcome.

Meanwhile, Chancellor Philip Hammond became the first senior Government figure to suggest that the backstop - created to keep the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic open in the case that no broader EU/UK trade deal is finalised - will "probably" have to come into effect for a period.

Her spokeswoman said yesterday London would present further proposals, which she described as "regulatory aspects", for the backstop border arrangement "in due course". Theresa May and the European Union leaders are expected to reach a final agreement after negotiations in Brussels on October 16.

Intense talks will continue over the weekend as both sides attempt to make a Brexit deal possible when leaders gather in Brussels next week. The party objects the backstop plan because it would effectively keep Northern Ireland in the single market for goods and therefore place a trade barrier on businesses moving goods from one part of the United Kingdom to another.

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The party's 10 MPs, who prop up Mrs May's minority Conservative Government, are preparing to vote against the upcoming Budget if they disagree with the Brexit deal.

The document stated that the government "expects" this arrangement to remain in place no later than the end of December 2021.

The DUP has stepped up warnings to Theresa May not to compromise over the Northern Ireland border in her efforts to secure a Brexit deal.

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier on Wednesday rammed home that - while the bloc was looking at ways to carry out checks on many goods away from the actual frontier - animal and animal products would have to be screened on the border.

The DUP are also threatening to withdraw their support from May's government with one source telling Politico "right now, Labour's position is better for us than May's".

Former Prime Minister Sir John Major, meanwhile, has said he has "great sympathy" for Mrs May, telling the BBC's Political Thinking podcast that "the way she's being treated by some of her colleagues is absolutely outrageous".

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt and the Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom also said to have "deep concerns".

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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