Published: Fri, October 19, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Bettel says United Kingdom must 'take decisions now' on Brexit

Bettel says United Kingdom must 'take decisions now' on Brexit

However, during exchanges at Prime Minister's Questions, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the Tories were too "weak and divided" to negotiate effectively with Brussels.

A spokesperson for Downing Street said a meeting was not possible.

May plans to accentuate the positive when she addresses the other 27 European Union leaders Wednesday - before they have dinner without her - by stressing how much progress has been made in many areas.

The four parties have previously released joint statements expressing concerns about the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland.

It was a marked change of tone since May's Brexit minister Dominic Raab left Brussels on Sunday after the more than year-long Brexit talks broke down over the border issue.

If May loses, there would be a leadership contest with the victor becoming prime minister, without the need for new elections.

And Mrs May did not respond when asked whether she would welcome an additional year's transition.

"We need to know what the other side wants - finally", said Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite.

"The prime minister claims to be acting on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland but is only listening to the DUP, who are presenting a distorted position".

Ms. May has balked at the backstop, arguing it would isolate Northern Ireland from the rest of the country.

The backstop proposals have given the Irish Government a veto over the Brexit talks as they were gifted regulatory alignment for Northern Ireland with the European Union, at the same time as saying there'd be no border in the Irish Sea.

Helen McEntee was speaking after a meeting involving Mrs May and Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar.

That more positive atmosphere was echoed by other European Union officials, saying May appeared to show greater understanding for some of the EU's concerns, including Ireland's need for an insurance "backstop" to avoid a hard border with Northern Ireland - the key stumbling block so far in the talks.

"Nobody wants to see the backstop actually used", she said.

Mr Mundell told the BBC: "I haven't threatened to resign".

"I'm sure his intentions were very decent, but he probably didn't think that through strategically".

Mr Hunt told LBC: "In any negotiation... there comes a moment when you're looking into the whites of the other person's eyes, you're understanding what each other's bottom lines are and you need to go through, if you like, that pain barrier, and then you come out the other side with a deal that hopefully both sides can live with".

The idea would allow more time to resolve the Irish border conundrum which is threatening to derail the whole process - but it has immediately been shot down by her critics.

An aide to Macron said he and Merkel walked back together to their hotel from the summit and when they got there he got a text from Bettel inviting him round the corner for a drink: "It was totally spur of the moment", the aide said.

However, Mr Tusk said the possibility of extending the transition period was not discussed at the meeting of the European Union 27.

The DUP - whose votes are crucial to the survival of Mrs May's Government - has described as a "deal-breaker" any move to split Northern Ireland off from the rest of the United Kingdom as part of a Brexit settlement with the EU.

Mrs May relies on her DUP allies' 10 MPs to prop up her minority government in key votes and there have been suggestions the Northern Irish party could vote against the Budget.

"The people of the north of Ireland did not vote for it and the people of the north of Ireland support the backstop".

"Mrs. May recalled the importance of a UK-wide customs territory".

Irish Minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee also claimed yesterday that the Prime Minister had already promised Dublin that there would not be a time limit on the "Irish backstop" proposals, which could see Northern Ireland treated differently from the rest of the United Kingdom in the aftermath of Brexit.

Pro-EU politicians, meanwhile, said the transition period proposal was another sign of May's weak bargaining hand and an attempt to stall for time.

In Brussels, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said that concerns about a possible return of past tensions - about 3,700 people died during 30 years of "troubles" - can not be ignored.

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