Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Barnier Rejects Key Bits Of May's Plan But Says Talks Go On

Barnier Rejects Key Bits Of May's Plan But Says Talks Go On

The Pound fell during the noon session Friday after European Union negotiator Michel Barnier appeared to suggest Brussels may seek a Brexit customs arrangement that places a border between the province of Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, throwing Prime Minister Theresa May a fresh curveball.

Britain's government has removed a legislative proposal for a "meaningful vote" in parliament on whatever deal it negotiates to leave the European Union, opposition lawmakers said on Thursday.

Mrs May said the backstop would only be necessary if "for technical reasons" the new customs arrangements were not up and running by January 1, 2021 when the transition period expires. While both sides say they want to keep the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland open, the proposals each side has come up with to achieve that are unacceptable to the other side. "What does it do?"

Mr Barnier told a press conference in Brussels that it is not "feasible" to extend the backstop to the whole of the UK.

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The EU then translated the "backstop" into a legal text - but hardened it to make clear Northern Ireland would be fully within the EU customs union and single market.

"Whether it is lowering our standards or granting more visas, ministers have made no attempt whatsoever to explain to the public what the implications might be". And he raised questions about whether the so-called backstop solution, created to avoid a border emerging if all else fails, can apply to the whole of the U.K. May wants it to, because the Northern Irish allies that prop up her government are demanding it.

Theresa May has avoided a potentially devastating cabinet resignation after striking a last-minute deal with David Davis over plans to prevent a hard border in Ireland after Brexit.


Or at least that's the expectation - after ministers spent the morning in talks about the future of the Irish border.

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Post Brexit food and agricultural exports to the continent and Ireland will be checked at European Union ports - but there is nowhere to check them, and the system to check them does not exist.

The Trade Bill and Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill are also set to return to the Commons by mid-July at the latest. The amendments are fast shaping up to be one of the most signifcant tests of PM May's leadership to date.

Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday published a plan for a backstop which would take effect if an EU-UK deal was not in place by 2021.

In a note published today Westminster has agreed the so called "backstop" created to prevent the return of a hard border should end by December 2021.

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