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Brexit: Cabinet edges towards breakthrough over Irish border problem

Theresa May’s cupboard is on the verge of agreeing a plan to interrupt the impasse in Brexit talks and permit MPs to vote on a deal earlier than Christmas.

Ministers are on standby to carry a second cupboard assembly as early as this week to log off proposals resolving the deadlock over what occurs to the Irish border after Brexit.

Downing Avenue was additionally assured that if the ultimate difficulty holding up the withdrawal settlement was overcome, it might additionally be capable to rapidly nail down the form of Britain’s future buying and selling relations with the EU.

That might clear the best way for each the withdrawal and future relations components of Brexit to be accepted at a European Council in November or December, after which to be voted on by the Home of Commons earlier than the Christmas break.

The step ahead got here after a cupboard assembly on Tuesday morning, which noticed ministers edge in direction of an agreed place.

One individual at cupboard stated: “Everybody needs this settled earlier than Christmas.”

Whereas there isn’t a second cupboard assembly presently scheduled this week, insiders stated ministers had been prepared to maneuver swiftly if the breakthrough was made.

Negotiators have been deadlocked over what occurs to the Irish border if a brand new buying and selling relationship has not but been agreed by the UK and EU by the tip of the transition interval in December 2020.

Underneath these circumstances Brussels’s place has been that Northern Ireland at the least ought to stay within the EU’s customs union till a commerce deal is about in stone, in an effort to preserve the border with the Republic open, however Ms Could says she needs an answer the place the entire UK stays in a customs association however for a time-limited interval.

Brexiteers have stated they’d solely settle for such a “backstop” association if the UK can pull out of it unilaterally, one thing the EU has stated it won’t settle for.

At Tuesday’s cupboard a major intervention was made by lawyer normal Geoffrey Cox, who set out a spread of proposals for a “evaluate mechanism” that will permit the backstop to be terminated with the mutual settlement of the EU.

Aides confirmed stories in The Spectator, that Mr Cox had set out the authorized difficulties of the UK pulling out unilaterally, while additionally looking for to reassure Brexiteers that the evaluate mechanism wouldn’t give the EU an efficient veto on Britain leaving the backstop.

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Some cupboard ministers nonetheless expressed considerations that except the UK may depart the backstop at will, it might fail to go by the Commons, however the brand new plan appeared to symbolize a step ahead.

One cupboard stage supply stated: “There’s nonetheless work to do, nevertheless it’s true that Geoffrey made a considerable intervention.”

After the cupboard, Ms Could’s spokesman stated: “The prime minister stated she was assured of reaching a deal.

“She stated that, whereas the UK ought to purpose to safe a withdrawal settlement as quickly as doable, this might not be executed at any value.

“The prime minister stated that, as soon as settlement was reached on a withdrawal settlement, it stays the case that nothing is agreed till every thing is agreed and it will likely be topic to securing an appropriate full future framework.”

The Impartial understands Downing Avenue believes the event means a withdrawal settlement may very well be agreed with chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier, after which in a interval earlier than an EU summit is held to signal it off, the excellent components of the define future buying and selling relationship is also fleshed out.

The aim would then be for a European Council summit to approve the lot, passing the baton to MPs within the UK to vote on it in parliament earlier than December 20 when the Commons rises.

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar informed the prime minister on Monday that he was prepared to contemplate a evaluate mechanism as a part of a “backstop” association to maintain the border with Northern Eire open after Brexit.

However with the detailed UK proposals but to be put to Brussels, Mr Barnier informed Belgian broadcaster RTBF on Tuesday “nonetheless an actual level of divergence” on the Irish difficulty.

The Impartial has launched its #FinalSay marketing campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the ultimate Brexit deal.

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