BREXIT BLOCK: Raab SLAPPED BACK by EU as Barnier REFUSES to move overnight on key issues

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Posted on Oct 15 2018 - 2:02pm by admin

With less than six months until the UK leaves the Brussels bloc, Brexit negotiators are yet to reach a deal over the UK’s exit from the EU after a flurry of crisis meetings were held when Mr Raab rushed to Brussels for talks with Mr Barnier.

Folllowing a tense showdown, Mr Barnier posted on Twitter “despite intense efforts, some key issues are still open” including measures to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

EU27 members met without Britain in Brussels this evening where they were told a final agreement has not yet been reached.  

READ MORE: Brexit on BRINK: Raab rushes to Brussels as member state orders CRISIS talks—no deal looms

Dominic Raab is meeting Michel Barnier for crunch talks

Dominic Raab is meeting Michel Barnier for crunch talks (Image: GETTY)

brexit news

Brexit news: Michel Barnier said key issues surrounding Brexit remain (Image: GETTY )

It comes after Brexit secretary Mr Raab raced to Brussels for a highly unusual Sunday afternoon meeting with Mr Barnier, which prompted speculation a Brexit deal was in the offing.

But senior EU sources said negotiations had yet to produce a final deal for leaders to approve this week, and some signalled that more meetings would be necessary to get agreement on the withdrawal terms.

The EU’s timetable before Wednesday’s summit will now have to shift, meaning a meeting of EU advisers has been postponed from Monday to make way for more talks.

Negotiators will wait for the outcome of a summit mid-week before any resumption, according to four EU sources. 

A senior EU diplomat said: “Despite constructive and intensive negotiations, several key issues remain unresolved.

“No further negotiations are planned ahead of the European Council. The EU negotiator will brief the leaders who will then assess the progress so far.”

The crunch talks come ahead of European Union leaders gathering in the Belgian capital on Wednesday for the European Council summit.

The meeting coincides with reports from Germany that both the UK and EU were on the verge of concluding an agreement.

But a Number 10 spokesman said: “In the last few days UK and EU negotiators have made real progress in a number of key areas. However there remain a number of unresolved issues relating to the backstop.

“The UK is still committed to making progress at the October European Council.”

brexit news

Brexit news: Dominic Raab made a last minute dash to Brussels (Image: REUTERS )

Despite intense efforts, some key issues are still open, including the backstop for IE/NI to avoid a hard border

Michel Barnier

However, the Department for Exiting the European Union (DEXEU) insisted there are still a number of outstanding issues to be discussed, including the thorny Irish border issue.

A UK Government spokesman said: “Brexit secretary Dominic Raab will be in Brussels this afternoon to meet with Michel Barnier.

“With several big issues still to resolve, including the Northern Ireland backstop, it was jointly agreed that face-to-face talks were necessary ahead of this week’s October European Council.”

Speaking to ITV News political editor Robert Peston, Mr Davis said: “This is one of the most fundamental decisions that government has taken in modern times.

“It is time for Cabinet members to exert their collective authority. This week the authority of our constitution is on the line.

“The EU has already offered us a Cananda-style, zero-tariffs trade agreement, and Donald Tusk, president of the council, reinforced that offer last week.

“A good deal is clearly within our grasp.

“We must reset our negotiating strategy immediately and deliver a Brexit that meets the demands of the referendum and the interests of the British people.”

His intervention came on the same day mutinous pro-Brexit MPs, including himself and Jacob Rees-Mogg, put their names to a letter accusing the Government of leaking negative forecasts about the impact of leaving the EU.

READ BELOW FOR BREXIT UPDATES ON LAST NIGHT’S TALKS

Dominic Raab

Dominic Raab addresses the Commons on Tuesday (Image: BBC)

Despite intense efforts, some key issues are still open, including the backstop for IE/NI to avoid a hard border

Michel Barnier

11.50pm update: Boris Johnson tells Theresa May to “scrap Irish backstop”

Mr Johnson used his Daily Telegrah column to implore the Prime Minister to reconsider the so-called “backstop” arrangement.

The former Foreign Secretary said: “It is time to scrap the backstop, and simply agree what is manifestly the case – that no one wants any new physical checks in the Northern Irish border, and nor is there any need for them.”

Mr Johnson later added: “It is the Super Canada, zero tariff, zero quota, free trade deal at the heart of a deep and special partnership.

“It is right for both sides, and it is time to go for it.”

10.01pm update: May doesn’t have the backing – senior EU source 

Several sources have said there is little chance EU leaders would give Barnier new instructions.

They noted this puts the onus on Mrs May, who will join the leaders on Thursday morning, to break the deadlock she faces among her own allies and supporters.

A senior EU diplomat, who was briefed by Barnier, said: “It seems like May doesn’t have backing in her cabinet for the backstop.” 

8.41pm update:  Britain and the EU have made progress “in a number of key areas” in Brexit talks.

But Britain’s Brexit ministry said there remain a number of “unresolved issues relating to the backstop”. 

A spokeswoman for the ministry said in a statement: “In the last few days UK and EU negotiators have made real progress in a number of key areas. However there remain a number of unresolved issues relating to the backstop.”

 “The UK is still committed to making progress at the October European Council.”

7.22pm update: Britain and EU have called a pause in talks until Wednesday 

Negotiators will wait for the outcome of a summit mid-week before any resumption, according to four EU sources. 

A senior EU diplomat said: “Despite constructive and intensive negotiations, several key issues remain unresolved.

“No further negotiations are planned ahead of the European Council. The EU negotiator will brief the leaders who will then assess the progress so far.”

Others also said EU negotiator Michel Barnier would brief leaders of the 27 other member states when they meet for dinner in Brussels on Wednesday, on the eve of a regular EU meeting which Mrs May will also attend.

6.47pm update: Barnier has tweeted after his ‘intense’ meeting with Raab 

The EU’s Brexit negotiator tweeted: “Despite intense efforts, some key issues are still open, including the backstop for IE/NI to avoid a hard border. I will debrief the EU27 and @Europarl_EN on the #Brexit negotiations.” 

6.33pm update: The EU’s timetable before Wednesday’s summit will now have to shift

A meeting of EU advisers has been postponed from Monday to make way for more talks.

5.43pm update: A member state demanded Raab attend crisis meeting with Barnier. 

A senior source has told Express.co.uk that Raab was requested to meet the EU’s Brexit negotiatior at the request of another member state. 

The country has not yet been identified. 

5.34pm update: Jeremy Hunt has said the talks in Brussels shows the effort UK is willing to put into Brexit talks 

But he said Britain would not sign up to an indefinite backstop for Northern Ireland. 

5pm update: A senior UK Government source played down reports that a deal had been done

The source said: “It’s very much in the EU’s interests to make it look like there is a deal,” because it would then leave the UK looking “like we are the ones being intransigent”.

They said there are still some “big issues” to be resolved and “Dominic has gone out there to try to resolve the outstanding issues”.

Rebecca Perring is now taking over reporting from Ciaran McGrath 

3.36pm update: Ambassadors ‘summoned to Brussels’

The ambassadors of the 27 EU member states have been summoned to Brussels amid mounting speculation that a Brexit deal is imminent, according to diplomatic sources.

The news follows the revelation that Brexit secretary Dominic Raab has travelled to the Belgian capital for face-to-face discussions with EU negotiator Michel Barnier.

Speaking in the House of Commons earlier this week, Mr Raab acknowledge the last few weeks were “always going to be tough” but while emphasising the need for the UK to “hold our nerve”.

He said: “I remain confident we will reach a deal this autumn,” calling on the EU to “match the pragmatism we have shown”.

3.02pm update Brexit need must maintain global security, says Defence Secretary Jeremy Hunt

A Brexit deal is needed to maintain global security in the face of new and emerging threats, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has told his Eastern European counterparts.

Mr Hunt was at the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg ahead of a crunch week in which the Prime Minister will be taking her proposal for a deal to the European Council’s October summit.

He told the UK’s partners that issues such as cyber attacks, chemical weapons, terrorism and migration can only be tackled as a united force following Brexit.

Mr Hunt said: “This is a crucial week both for the UK and our European partners.

“The importance of achieving a Brexit deal that respects the autonomy of the EU and the sovereignty of the UK cannot be overstated.

Emily Thornberry

Emily Thornberry speaks to Andrew Marr (Image: BBC)

2.23pm update: Raab heads for talks with Barnier amid rumours of Brexit deal

Rumours are rife that a Brexit deal has been struck after Dominic Raab headed for Brussels for crunch talks with EU negotiator Michel Barnier prior to this week’s EU Brexit summit.

The pair will meet for a highly unusual Sunday afternoon meeting prior to European Union leaders gathering in the Belgian capital on Wednesday for the European Council summit.

The meeting coincides with reports from Germany that both the UK and EU were on the verge of concluding an agreement.

However, the Department for Exiting the European Union (DEXEU) insists there are still a number of outstanding issues to be discussed, including the thorny Irish border issue.

A UK Government spokesman said: “Brexit secretary Dominic Raab will be in Brussels this afternoon to meet with Michel Barnier.”

1.17pm update: Hancock says customs backstop will be “time limited”

Cabinet minister Matt Hancock has said any customs backstop would be “time limited” – but declined to say whether a date at which it expired would be written into the deal.

He told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show: “The proposal is that it will be temporary and time limited.”

Asked if there would be a date, he said: “There are different ways to ensure that something is time limited.”

He suggested there could be conditions for “the point at the which arrangements come to an end”.

Asked if there would be a “break” clause, Mr Hancock added: “There are different ways that you can make sure that something is credibly time limited and that’s what I want to see.”

The Health and Social Care Secretary also said he “didn’t expect” there would be any Cabinet resignations over any proposed deal.

12.25pm update: Tories have been ‘faffing around for two years,’ says Thornberry

Ms Thornberry hit out at Theresa May’s government for “playing chicken” over the  deal.

She added: “They have been faffing around for two years.

“We shouldn’t be having a deal where Theresa May comes to an agreement that says ‘we haven’t been able to agree anything in the last two years but we’re going to agree something in the next two years.

“It’s a false choice. We’re not agreeing to building half a bridge when we don’t know where it goes.”

12.22pm update: May’s plans ‘a bridge to nowhere,’ says Labour’s Thornberry

Parliament will be offered a “ridiculous binary choice” on , shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry has told the Andrew Marr Show.

She explained: “I think it’s false.

“We said we wanted a meaningful vote and we can’t see why we should have, on the one hand Theresa May’s nonsense and on the other hand a no deal, because that’s what they’re threatening us with.

“If she comes back with something that’s just a fudge she’s cooked up with Brussels.

“We’re not voting for something that’s essentially a bridge to nowhere.”

Iain Duncan Smith

Iain Duncan Smith told Sophie Ridge he did not want decisions made be a (Image: Sky)

1.44pm update: Influence policy rather than resign, Tory vice chairman urges ministers

Tory vice chairman James Cleverly has urged Cabinet ministers should use their position to influence policy rather than resign.

He told Sophie Ridge on  Sunday: “They should use that position to put their ideas forward, I would suggest that’s a much more constructive and helpful way of influencing the direction of the negotiations with the EU,” he said.

The Brexit-supporting MP said Theresa May had set out her red lines and “one of them is that we are not going to stay indefinitely in a customs union, the other is that we are not going to see Northern Ireland carved off from the rest of the UK”.

Asked about the proposed backstop measure on customs, Mr Cleverly said: “The precise timing of how long we are in a temporary customs arrangement is something that can be up for debate as long as, when those arrangements come on stream – and they won’t be instant, they will be quick but not instant – we are in a position to take advantage of them”.

12.13pm update: Rees-Mogg rules out voting with DUP to sink Tory budget

Jacob Rees-Mogg was ruled out joining the DUP in voting down the Government’s Budget in order to scupper the £39bn Brexit divorce bill and plunge Theresa May into chaos.

Speaking to Sky News, the prominent Brexiteer campaigner distanced himself from the Unionists, who would plunge the Government into chaos by voting against Chancellor Philip Hammond’s financial plans at the end of the month.

Mr Rees-Mogg said: “I would vote against remaining in the customs union, against remaining in the single rulebook as proposed in Chequers.

“I will vote against paying £39bn unless there is a clear trade deal on the table.

“But, I stood on the Conservative manifesto and I will be supporting the Government in matters like the Budget.”

12.04pm update: ‘Scrap backstop plan,’ Duncan-Smith urges May

Mr Duncan Smith said the UK had a “very strong set of cards to play” when it came to leaving the EU – and urged the Government to pull the plug on the backstop arrangement for the Irish border.

He added: “I have a very simple message to the Prime Minister.

“It’s great that you’re going to be a bloody difficult woman over something, it’s an absolute real strength when you’re on the right course.

“But when you’re not on the right course sometimes you have to take a pace back and say ‘is there a better way?’.

“And I think there is a better way to do this which is to put the ball back into the EU’s court and say ‘look, we have never accepted this backstop. It’s a ludicrous political intervention, you now must agree with us.

“‘There will never be a hard border with or without a deal.

“And then, full Canada plus plus plus deal is on the table.”

11.59am update: ‘Don’t let ‘little cabal’ make Brexit decisions,’ Iain Duncan Smith urges ministers

Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith called on cabinet ministers to make their feelings “very clear” to Prime Minister Theresa May in order to stop Brexit decisions being made be a “little cabal”

Speaking to Sky’s Sophy Ridge, the leading eurosceptic and former Conservative party leader claimed it was time Theresa May “put the ball back into the EU’s court” and scrapped the Brexit backstop clause agreed in the December 2016 white paper. 

Mr Duncan Smith added: “I do say to anyone who is in Cabinet and has concerns about this, you have to make them very clear to the Prime Minister.

“We mustn’t have a little cabal outside cabinet running this.”

11.20am update: Arlene Foster ready to trigger no-deal Brexit

DUP leader Arlene Foster is prepared to trigger a no-deal Brexit and scupper Theresa May, leaked government emails reveal.

The DUP tanks  Britain is now most likely to leave the bloc without a deal, according to the exchange.

Mrs Foster described Michel Barnier as “difficult and hostile” in talks last week, according to the leaked emails .

The DUP’s 10 MPs could now bring down Downing Street’s Brexit plans with Mrs Foster “ready” to lead the rebellion.

11.16am update: DUP poised to join forces with Nigel Farage

The DUP is poised to join forces with former UKIP leader Nigel Farage at a rally aimed at torpedoing Prime Minister Theresa May’s controversial Chequers blueprint for Brexit,the Sunday Express has exclusively reported.

Mrs May depends on the Northern Irish party’s ten Parliamentary representatives to prop her minority Government – but they are unhappy at her proposals, believing the region will be treated differently from the rest of the UK as a result.

DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson will join Mr Farage on stage tomorrow at the event in Bournemouth, alongside Tory MP Conor Burns, Labour Leave’s Brendan Chilton, and Wetherspoons CEO Tim Martin.

Last week party sources suggested they could be prepared to vote against Chancellor Philip Hammond’s budget at the end of the month, a move which could trigger a no-confidence vote in the Government.

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon will unveil her “common sense” alternative on Monday (Image: GETTY)

11.02am update: Sturgeon to unveil plans for “common sense” alternative to May’s Brexit plans

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said her Government will set out a “common sense” alternative to the UK Government’s Brexit plans on Monday.

The publication will reinforce the case for continued membership of the single market and customs union, Mrs Sturgeon said.

It will also argue that the UK Government’s “false choice” between a “bad, possibly blindfold” Brexit deal and a no-deal scenario should not be accepted.

The release of the paper will come as the First Minister gives a speech at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) in London on Monday.

Speaking in advance of the address, Ms Sturgeon said: “The UK is scheduled to leave the European Union less than six months from now – but both a withdrawal agreement and a clear, detailed statement on the future relationship must be concluded much sooner.

“As things stand, we still have no guarantee of a transition agreement or a detailed proposition setting out the future trading relationship between the UK and EU.”

Anne-Marie Trevelyan Theresa May

Anne-Marie Trevelyan with Theresa May (Image: GETTY)

10.52am update: Memo suggests Brexit deal ‘done’ – but Downing Street downplays claims

A Brexit deal between the UK and the EU is set to be finalised today and presented to the Cabinet early next week, leaked documents appear to suggest.

A memo has shown that senior EU negotiators requested to agree terms of the deal today, before Theresa May’s cabinet have even seen them.

The leaked document first appeared in German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung.

The paperwork reads: “Deal made, nothing made public (in theory).”

A deal is expected to be revealed to the British government next week.

Downing Street has refused to be drawn into commenting on the situation, insisting: “Negotiations are ongoing. It is not correct to say a deal has been done.”

10.44am update: ‘Stand up and be counted,’ MP urges colleagues

Pro-Brexit MPs need to ‘stand up and be counted’ rather than ‘surrendering’ to the demands of the European Union, MP Andrea Jenkyns has said.

Mrs Jenkyns, MP for Morley and Outwood, tweeted: “It is better to go down fighting and honouring the democratic decision of our British people.

“Then to be long remembered for waving a white flag and surrendering to EU demands.

“All Brexiteers in Gov and on the backbenches its time to #StandUp4Brexit and finally #ChuckChequers.

 10.25am update: Customs partnership would cause Leave voters to ‘lose faith in democracy’

Pro-Brexit MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has warned keeping the UK in a temporary customs partnership after the end of the transition period which would follow a withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU would cause Leave voters to “lose faith in democracy”.

The Tory member for Berwick upon Tweed made her comments during a comment piece in the Sunday Telegraph in which she advocated a similar trade deal to the one Canada has with the EU.

Mrs Trevelyan wrote: “In any trade negotiation, countries need to know that their trading partner genuinely has the ability to grant “concessions” so that trade-offs can be made and so that a deal can be reached.

“And the idea of remaining in the customs union – even it is called a “temporary customs arrangement” – after the end of the transition period, into the 2020s, means simply delaying Brexit and causing the 17.4 million people who voted for it to lose faith in our democractic and legal institutions.”

10.15am update: Davis calls for cabinet rebellion over May’s Brexit blueprint

David Davis has called for a cabinet rebellion over Theresa May’s “flawed” Brexit blueprint.

The former Brexit Secretary called on ministers to mutiny and “exert their collective authority” as the “moment of truth” over Britain leaving the EU approaches.

EU leaders will hold a crucial Brexit summit on Wednesday, with time running out to seal a deal on the UK leaving the single bloc.

And Mrs May is also now facing nine ministers urging her to change her Brexit policy at a crunch cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the Sunday Telegraph reports, with 63 MPs also said to have signed a letter slamming the government’s Brexit plans.

10.10am update: ‘Many forecasts predict a positive impact’

The letter states: “It is imperative, as we approach votes on the Government’s proposed future relationship with the EU, that we have an open debate on the Government’s modelling.

“It is unacceptable the Government leaks the results of its modelling when it suits but simultaneously hides what lies behind these forecasts from the public.

“While all such forecasts are only indicators of orders of magnitude and general direction, independent private sector forecasts and those of Whitehall are wildly far apart, many which forecast a positive impact on GDP.”

The letter suggested such differences had “huge consequences” for both Brexit strategy and long-term planning.

Other signatories included former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, John Redwood, and Zac Goldsmith – but not former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Jacob Rees-Mogg addresses a Leave Means Leave rally yesterday (Image: Youtube)

10am update: Rees-Mogg and David Davis round on May on eve of crunch week for Brexit

Mutinous pro-Brexit MPs including former Brexit secretary David Davis and Jacob Rees-Mogg have piled more pressure on Theresa May by putting their names to a letter accusing the Government of leaking negative forecasts about the impact of leaving the EU.

The letter, signed by 63 Eurosceptic MPs, was sent to Chancellor Philip Hammond, and demands analysis is made public so it can be checked by independent experts. 

It was signed on the eve of a critical week for Brexit, which hopes the see EU member states sign off the first stage of the withdrawal from the bloc.

And it adds weight to Brexit Secretary David Davis’ call to ministers to rebel at Theresa May’s crunch Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the day before the crucial EU Summit.

The letter highlights the Cross Whitehall Brexit analysis, the details of which were published on the Buzzfeed website earlier this year.

This forecast the UK economy taking a 7.7 percent hit under a no-deal scenario in accordance with WTO rules, and 4.8 percent contraction if Mrs May seals a Canada-plus deal.

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