Published: Wed, October 24, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

British PM May says Brexit deal is 95% settled

British PM May says Brexit deal is 95% settled

What's changed is that the prime minister does seem to have reached the point where as the end of Brexit nears, it's increasingly apparent her biggest struggle is at home rather than in Brussels.

Two separate Cabinet sources confirmed to HuffPost UK that Lidington had made his "Black Wednesday" warning as fellow ministers appeared to take a less apocalyptic stance, making the case that a no-deal Brexit was manageable.

May still hopes that a deal can be done, and a draft agreement leaked to Irish TV channel RTE showed that the European Union is taking seriously a plan to give legal force to Britain's plan to create a UK-wide customs arrangement to avoid the Irish problem.

Theresa May will on Monday reassure MPs that "95% of the Withdrawal Agreement and its protocols are now settled" amid growing threats to her leadership.

They argued that technological solutions were available that could avoid a hard border in Ireland.

"However, May insisted that the EU's position had shifted and that they were now" actively working" with the United Kingdom to find a compromise.

Even if there's progress in negotiations with the United Kingdom over the coming weeks, the EU's 27 remaining governments see few chances of holding a leaders' meeting in November, two officials said.

As talks stall there has been proposals to extend the Brexit transition period for another year.

European Union diplomats briefed on the negotiations said a vital part of a complex package was to "anchor" a reference in the legally-binding withdrawal treaty to May's proposal to keep the whole of the United Kingdom in a customs partnership with the European Union - thus avoiding special treatment for Northern Ireland.

The EU proposal for Northern Ireland to remain in the bloc's customs union has been rejected by May as it would potentially create barriers to trade with the rest of Britain - something ruled out by Northern Ireland's DUP party, whose 10 votes in parliament prop up May's government.

As May said in her speech, she rejects the EU proposal for Northern Ireland to remain in a customs union with the bloc, as that could make trade with the rest of Britain more hard, something that is opposed by the Pro-Brexit Northern Irish party DUP that has propped up her minority Conservative government.

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey and Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom complained about the lack of an end-date in the current plans for a temporary customs plan.

"That's when we want this to be, so that there is no need for any backstop, or extension of implementation period, or anything else that's been put forward", she said. "I see any extension, any extension or being in any form of backstop as undesirable. And I am more determined than ever that we will get there together, with a Brexit deal that's right for you, right for your family and right for our country". "We are hearing that centrist Conservative MPs are now joining dozens of others who have sent letters to the party chair, asking them to basically trigger a leadership contest".

"We've had rumours of challenges before and they've gone nowhere - but the clock really is ticking", he said.

Does Brexit mean chaos for the UK?

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