Theresa May’s ‘secret Brexit deal’ with EU

Frederick Owens
November 6, 2018

This would avoid the EU's "backstop" solution that would have treated Northern Ireland differently from the rest of Britain.

"The British government has set out its stall to make "decisive progress" on the issue of the Northern Ireland backstop by Friday, in the hope that Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, could then call an extraordinary Brexit summit for the end of the month to seal the deal".

However, following a telephone conversation with Mrs May yesterday, Mr Varadkar's spokesman said Dublin would only consider a review mechanism if it was clear it couldn't be triggered by one side alone.

"I don't accept that rejecting the deal would necessarily mean it is no deal at all", he said.

Downing Street officials misled ministers at the time.

The conversation followed a Daily Telegraph report that Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has privately demanded the right to pull Britain out of the Irish backstop after just three months.

"He recalled the prior commitments made that the backstop must apply "unless and until" alternative arrangements are agreed".

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has insisted that a time-limited Brexit backstop will never be agreed by the Irish Government or the EU.

"This has been committed to by the United Kingdom in order to have a withdrawal agreement".

More news: Raab demand on Brexit backstop

In a letter to Mrs May they say Parliament should not be bound by the 2016 vote any more than it should be by the 1975 referendum that took Britain into the European Union, especially when there are question marks over its validity.

The EU has proposed keeping Northern Ireland inside a customs union with the bloc to remove the need for border checks on the island.

Britain wants instead to keep the whole an EU customs union, but only temporarily.

"Obviously still having this issue in relation to the insurance arrangements for Northern Ireland and Ireland, and that very much remains our focus and attention in getting that deal".

May's secret concessions from the European Union centre on checks at the Northern Irish border with the Republic of Ireland, which has so far been one of the biggest sticking points in Brexit negotiations.

The UK government has rejected that as a threat to the integrity of the UK.

Asked if Labour would vote against a customs union option unless it was permanent, Mr McDonnell told BBC2's Newsnight: 'Yeah, I think so, because. we'll see what she comes back with and we will be straight and honest with people, if it doesn't protect jobs and the economy we can't support it.

Meanwhile, a Survation poll of 20,000 people for Channel 4 estimated Remain would win another in/out referendum by 54 per cent to 46 per cent.

Cautious optimism that a deal may be in the offing has also been dampened by uncertainty over whether it would pass the British Parliament, deeply split between eurosceptic and pro-EU lawmakers, even within May's Conservative Party.

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