Northern Ireland's chief civil servant has warned a no-deal Brexit could have grave consequences for the region. In a letter to Stormont's political parties, David Sterling comes close to suggesting there may have to be some hardening of the Irish border.
Theresa May has written to all 317 Tory MPs, urging them to unite behind a Brexit deal while warning them history will judge us all over the process. Efforts will resume this Monday to persuade the EU to agree changes to the backstop plan to prevent the return of customs checks on the Irish border.
Theresa May has responded to Jeremy Corbyn's letter setting out his five demands for a Brexit deal. The prime minister queried his call for the UK to stay in a customs union with the EU - but welcomed more talks with Labour on a Brexit agreement.
The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier says the Irish backstop is part and parcel of the UK's Brexit deal and will not be renegotiated. Speaking at the European Parliament, Mr Barnier said it was a realistic solution to preventing a hard border.
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.
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.