EU official sees room for Brexit breakthrough next week

The DUP led by Arlene Foster warned that Theresa May “may not be the leader to take us through Brexit”
The DUP led by Arlene Foster warned that Theresa May “may not be the leader to take us through Brexit”CLODAGH KILCOYNE REUTERS
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12 October, 2018

Prime Minister Theresa 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.

Asked by the BBC to offer her backing to Mrs May's plan, Ms McVey sidestepped the questions.

Labour demands that Britain retain "the exact same" perks it now has within the EU's customs union and single market - something May's so-called Chequers plan does not meet and which the EU rules out since London chose to leave both.

"Despite the so-called deal planning, the Government has yet to admit that a no deal would require a raft of substantial legislation to be rushed through Parliament, crucial stop gap agreements with the European Union on matter relating to Northern Ireland and security, and the recruitment of thousands of custom officials".

The government, which has warned of a no-deal Brexit, published more than 25 technical notices covering issues from consumer rights and sanctions policy to rail transport and taking horses overseas.

"He told the BBC's Political Thinking podcast: "'Their behaviour was pretty intolerable, but not almost as intolerable as the way the present Prime Minister is being treated".

Senior EU officials insist that the Frenchman wants to have a deal ready to conclude by then but a number of issues are still to be resolved.

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However Brexiteers - including Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab - are insisting any arrangement which would see the United Kingdom effectively remain part of the customs union while negotiations over a free trade deal take place must be strictly time-limited - something the EU has been resisting.

In a statement Mrs Foster, whose party props up the Government at Westminster, said the European Union plan would effectively mean imposing a trade barrier between the Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

And in a vote on the Agriculture Bill, it did not back the Conservatives in what DUP sources said was a "warning shot" for the government.

"Building optimism over a potential breakthrough in Brexit talks at next week's summit is continuing to encourage pound outperformance", said analysts at MUFG.

The Telegraph mentioned eurosceptic worldwide development secretary Penny Mordaunt and pension secretary Esther McVey.

"Though investors believe that 80 percent of the work on the Brexit deal framework may be over, it is the last 20 percent that is the most hard", said Thomas Flury, head of currency strategy at UBS Global Wealth Management's Chief Investment Office in Zurich.

He said: "She has declared herself to be a unionist, she has repeated that time and time again, she knows the consequences if she walks away from that promise, not just for Northern Ireland because of course she will open a Pandora's box in Scotland as well".


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