Economy

British PM May briefs inner Cabinet that Brexit deal is close - FT

British PM May briefs inner Cabinet that Brexit deal is close - FT

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said on Wednesday evening he is "cautiously optimistic" that progress will be made next week on the negotiations for Britain to leave the EU.

Barnier said Brexit would trigger the need for customs, Value-Added Tax and compliance checks with EU standards between Ireland and Northern Ireland in the event that a planned "backstop" were triggered because a future EU-UK trade deal was not sufficient in itself to ensure the land frontier was not a "hard border".

The British government and leading politicians in Northern Ireland insist they will not agree to a withdrawal treaty that foresees the possibility of Northern Ireland being kept inside the EU's economic area while the British mainland is not.

It came as Mrs May's "inner cabinet" was briefed last night on plans for a no-deal Brexit amid reports that progress ahead of a crucial European Union summit next week had been slower than hoped. "That was the case on Monday and it remains the case today", the prime minister's official spokesman said.

Northern Ireland would also remain in the single market for goods.

This, however, would raise the prospect of increased regulation checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. Many of her cabinet colleagues have assured me of their Unionism.

Earlier on Thursday, May told Northern Ireland journalists that Irish border talks would likely continue until November.

More news: Astronauts make emergency landing after rocket malfunction

If the DUP votes against the budget, which will be presented on October 29, this could trigger a confidence motion and a general election if the government loses.

"Brussels wants Northern Ireland to have access to the EU single market and trade within the rules set by the EU under the European Courts of Justice", she said.

While talks with Brussels have intensified since May emerged from her infighting Conservative party conference last week, there has been no breakthrough.

While the United Kingdom will effectively stay in the single market and customs union during the transition period up to December 2020, Brexiteers fear the new proposal would keep the United Kingdom in the customs union for years thereafter until a full trade deal could be agreed with the EU27.

The prime minister summoned members of the Brexit "war cabinet" on Thursday to build support for the terms of the withdrawal agreement before seeking the backing of her full cabinet and the rest of her party.

For customs and VAT, Barnier said, "we propose using the existing customs procedures to avoid doing checks at the transit points".


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