Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Downing Street plays down idea of Brexit agreement being reached next week

Downing Street plays down idea of Brexit agreement being reached next week

The former Brexit secretary issued the rally cry ahead of a crucial European Union summit in Brussels next week, demanding Mrs May drop her current plans and accept a Canada-style free trade arrangement.

In a speech in Brussels, Barnier reiterated his rejection of the counter-proposals hammered out by the cabinet at Chequers, which Theresa May insists is the only deal that respects both the referendum result and the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom by ensuring "frictionless" trade and no hard border.

Top EU officials were warned Wednesday to make plans to cope with the fallout from a "no-deal" Brexit as their chief negotiator said talks with Britain must make more progress before next week's crunch summit.

Ms Foster, who has previously referred to the union between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as her party's "guiding star", has said the unionists are prepared to vote down the budget in protest in the event a Brexit deal is struck which crosses her party's red line.

LEAVE voters in Northern Ireland regard sacrificing the peace process as an acceptable price for Brexit, new research claims.

Talk of a draft deal having been agreed in Brussels on the Irish backstop was rubbished by Whitehall insiders, who urged caution.

Mr Davis said, if a deal of this kind is struck, it will be "very obvious" to voters at the next general election that the Government had broken promises from the 2017 Conservative manifesto and the Prime Minister's Lancaster House speech setting out her Brexit "red lines".

"The whole point about checks is that there is a difference" she said.

EU leaders are due to meet for dinner in Brussels next Wednesday and hope to agree a withdrawal treaty with Britain that Barnier said was 80-85 per cent ready but on which obstacles remain, notably on how to keep the new EU-UK land border with Northern Ireland from reviving conflict in the British province. But he stressed: "Brexit was not our choice".

The spokesman said the "meaningful vote" promised to MPs would cover not only the withdrawal agreement but also the political declaration on future relations.

The radical move is understood to be one of the options being considered by the DUP if attempts to nail down a deal with Brussels include any proposals that would leave Northern Ireland being treated differently to the rest of the UK.

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney warned of "carnage" if Britain crashed out of the European Union but said he believed it was "unlikely" that would happen.

But he also set out key objections to her proposed new trading relationship which involves a UK-EU customs partnership and a "common rulebook" for goods travelling across the border.

But Foster refused to consider such a compromise on Tuesday, saying: "What we said to Barnier is checks of themselves are symptomatic of something different, so we only need checks if Northern Ireland is following a different regulatory regime to the rest of the UK".

Michel Barnier said animals and some food products would have to be checked at ports.

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