Negotiations over the UK's departure from the EU are “now in the endgame”, Theresa May says. Addressing the Lord Mayor's Banquet in the City of London, the prime minister said the talks were “immensely difficult”, but the sides were working “through the night” to make progress.“This will not be an agreement at any cost,” the PM added.Add your comment!
A deal on the Irish border to break the Brexit deadlock is not close, the EU’s chief negotiator said on Tuesday. Michel Barnier was speaking as Theresa May briefed the Cabinet on her plans to achieve a breakthrough in time to secure a special Brexit summit to seal an agreement in November.
Irish premier Leo Varadkar has told Theresa May that he will not accept a Brexit deal which gives the UK the unilateral power to halt “backstop” arrangements for the border with Northern Ireland. In a phone conversation with the Taoiseach, Mrs. May said that any agreement would have to include a mechanism to bring an end to the backstop – designed to ensure there is no hard border in Ireland if the UK and EU fail to reach a broader trade deal.
Irish President Michael D Higgins has said he shares the concerns of the country’s premier Leo Varadkar that there is a risk of a return to violence if a hard border is imposed post-Brexit. Mr Higgins said: “I do share the Taoiseach’s concern.”
Britain will pay the price of a no-deal Brexit because complicated new border controls may not be ready in time, a UK government watchdog has warned. Thousands of UK exporters did not have enough time to prepare for new border rules, the National Audit Office said.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said she is prepared to explore every possible option to break the deadlock in Brexit talks. She told MPs 95% of the terms of exit were agreed but the Irish border was still a considerable sticking point.
Brexit-backing MPs have reacted angrily to the idea that the United Kingdom's transition out of the European Union could be extended for another year, to the end of 2021. Downing Street refused to rule out an extension after a Wednesday summit of EU leaders in Brussels failed to make progress.
Ireland is stepping up preparations for physical infrastructure at ports and airports after Brexit, premier Leo Varadkar said. Irish ministers held detailed discussions in Dublin on Tuesday surrounding the hiring of customs officers and veterinary inspectors as well as the upgrading of IT systems.
Theresa May will try to rally ministers behind her this morning at the start of a critical 48 hours for Brexit. On Monday, the PM told MPs an agreement with the EU was “still achievable” despite differences over the Irish border if “cool heads” prevailed. EU officials, though, have warned no-deal is “more likely than ever before”.
Prime Minister Theresa May appealed directly to fellow European Union leaders on Wednesday to drop “unacceptable” Brexit demands that she said could rip Britain apart, urging the bloc to respond in kind to her “serious and workable” plan.