Ministers in revolt over May's Brexit concessions

Ministers in revolt over May's Brexit concessions

The potential extension of the transition period, which could see the United Kingdom stay in the EU single market and customs union, accept continued free movement and make further payments to Brussels, is being considered as intensive negotiations continue ahead of the European Council summit.

- Will the Government publish fresh proposals for dealing with the Irish border issue this week?

DUP leader Arlene Foster and Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann have arrived in Brussels ahead of their meeting with Michel Barnier later on Tuesday.

The European Union's chief negotiator Michel Barnier briefed top EU officials behind closed doors at a regular meeting of the College of Commissioners, which also heard European Commission secretary-general Martin Selmayr warn of the need to be prepared for "all outcomes" from Brexit.

"When will the Government take this key that has been handed to them, keeping us in the prison of this negotiation, and admit that we can leave into an FTA basis which will make this a proper independent country able to control its domestic regulations as well as its tariffs so that we can lead the world into a new era of free trade".

Britain is keen to move forward on a future relationship, especially after Prime Minister Theresa May's proposals, already in doubt among many of her governing Conservatives, were widely criticised at an European Union summit in Austria last month.

Mrs May told the regular weekly Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street that talks to finalise a withdrawal deal were continuing "on an intensive basis".

Stressing that her party - which has threatened to cause a political crisis by voting down Philip Hammond's Budget if Mrs May gives way to Brussels - was serious, she said: "The DUP's actions this week are not as some have suggested about "flexing muscle".

Brexit negotiations have stepped up before the summit next Wednesday and Thursday, and the European Union has signalled that its officials believe a deal is within grasp.

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As the upbeat mood in the European Union increased, hardline Tory Brexiteers softened their stance in order to try and get Prime Minister Theresa May to abandon her Chequers proposals in favour of a Canada-style free trade deal.

A revolt on this scale would leave Mrs May relying on the votes of dozens of Labour MPs to secure parliamentary approval for any deal. However, some cabinet Brexiteers have suggested that they would resign over this.

Conservative former chief whip Mark Harper warned that relying on Labour voters would not work.

'We are going to have to carry this deal on our own benches.

Hopes that a withdrawal deal can be completed within weeks were fuelled this weekend by comments from Ireland's deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney, who insisted that both sides were 90% there.

Answering questions following a speech in London, Ms Mordaunt said: "The Prime Minister can count on my support".

"The data suggest that, in the pursuit of Brexit, Leave supporters across the United Kingdom would be relaxed about a fundamental transformation of the [British] Union but this attitude is not confined exclusively to Leave voters", commented Professor Ailsa Henderson, who led the project alongside Professor Richard Wyn Jones.

"We're at a critical moment now". The EU leaders must also back the deal and then so must the British and EU parliaments.

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