Published: Mon, November 05, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Theresa May secures 'secret Brexit deal to keep United Kingdom in customs union'

Theresa May secures 'secret Brexit deal to keep United Kingdom in customs union'

Reports in the "Sunday Times", that Mrs May had already concluded a "secret deal", were dismissed by negotiators from both sides last night.

The backstop is an arrangement that applies if the Irish border can not be kept frictionless during a wider deal. Is the future of the union stake?

The move could win over some opposition Labour lawmakers and increase the chances of getting a Brexit deal through Parliament, the Times said.

"Brexit has undermined the Good Friday Agreement" - the 1998 peace deal that ended three decades of violence in Northern Ireland - "and it is fraying relationships between Britain and Ireland", Varadkar said.

May's deal, based on the Chequers plan which prompted Johnson and former Brexit Secretary David Davis to resign from her Cabinet, would see Britain agree to a "common rulebook" with the EU on goods and agri-products - identical to the EU rulebook, and interpreted by EU judges - and remain inside the bloc's Customs Union, as a so-called "backstop" solution to the vexed question of keeping the Irish border open.

"Negotiations are still very firmly continuing, and therefore we are 95% of the way there in relation to the Withdrawal Agreement".

Mr Davis said: "If the attorney-general has warned - as has been reported - that the United Kingdom will not know when the backstop would end and compared it to being stuck in Dante's first circle of hell, then it's time to put an end to this nonsense once and for all."Mr Davis said: "We need the cards laid on the table so we can form a judgment".

"We need to stop before it is too late", he added - although he still seems unwilling to actually launch a leadership challenge. The government has previously said the withdrawal agreement is 95 percent complete and that there's also been progress in talks on the future relationship.

Writing on Twitter, he said: "The Irish position remains consistent and very clear that a "time-limited backstop" or a backstop that could be ended by the United Kingdom unilaterally would never be agreed by Ireland or the EU".

Ireland and the European Union will "never" accept a time-limited Brexit backstop, the United Kingdom has been told.

"We hope a deal can be done but we're not there yet".

Chief Executives from Waterstones, Innocent Drinks and Lastminute.com stated that the United Kingdom faces either a "blindfold or a destructive hard Brexit" in the note.

Waterstones chief executive James Daunt, ex-Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King, Lastminute.com founder Baroness Lane-Fox and Innocent Drinks co-founder Richard Reed were among signatories of a letter calling for a People's Vote on leaving the European Union. "Are we being hurtled toward a Hotel California Brexit where we can check out but never leave?"

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