May briefs ministers ahead of crunch Brexit talks

May briefs ministers ahead of crunch Brexit talks

May briefs ministers ahead of crunch Brexit talks

Britain rejects the EU's proposed solution - to keep Northern Ireland inside the bloc's single market and customs union after the rest of the UK leaves - because it would create new barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK The EU has asked for a counter-proposal from Britain.

The EU has proposed keeping Northern Ireland in the customs union if a UK-EU trade deal can not be done in time.

Nigel Dodds, deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party which props up Mrs May's minority Conservative administration in the House of Commons, said he expected developments over the weekend "in terms of the Government's own position and the Cabinet".

The party objects the backstop plan because it would effectively keep Northern Ireland in the single market for goods and therefore place a trade barrier on businesses moving goods from one part of the United Kingdom to another.

May will never agree to a backstop plan that means Britain could be permanently tied to the bloc's customs rules, her spokeswoman said on Friday.

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Ivan Rogers, Britain's former ambassador to the European Union, accused May's government of "extraordinary - indeed I would say culpable - naivety" in handling Brexit since the country voted to leave the European Union in a 2016 referendum.

Trade secretary Liam Fox told friends that her proposal "would make life very hard for me", according to a Mail report, because it would limit the UK's ability to strike new free trade deals outside the EU.

But Eurostar spokesman Rob Haycocks said the company's trains, which stop at Ashford International and Ebbsfleet International, should follow existing services come March: "We are having constructive conversations with the governments on Brexit and will continue to do so".

Earlier, Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey pointedly refused to endorse the prime minister's Chequers blueprint for Brexit.

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"Northern Ireland is as much a part of my country as Somerset is - and the two parts of the country must be treated equally and fairly and to cast Northern Ireland off into a colony of the European Union would be entirely improper".

They indicated the collapse of negotiations could threaten electricity blackouts in Northern Ireland, disrupt Channel Tunnel rail services and cost the United Kingdom free trade agreements with more than 70 non-EU countries around the world.

May is also facing a revolt by her Northern Irish allies over the long-term trading relationship, an outline of which London wants set out before Brexit.

"I fully appreciate the risks of a "no deal" (Brexit) but the dangers of a bad deal are worse", Foster wrote in an article in the Belfast Telegraph published on Saturday.

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