‘IT’S CRUNCH TIME’ Remainer plot against ‘loose’ EU deal as May REFUSES to rush Brexit

Posted on Nov 7 2018 - 3:46am by admin

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir claims splits in the Conservative Party have stalled progress on trade links with the EU and will mean years of further negotiations.

He is meeting European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans, Markus Winkler, deputy secretary general of the EU Parliament, and Roberto Gualtieri, who sits on the parliament’s Brexit Steering Group.

Sir Keir said: “This is crunch time in the Brexit negotiations. Yet government divisions and delays mean that little time has been spent debating what our future trading and security relationship will be after Brexit.

“Months of deadlock in Theresa May’s Government mean we’re facing continued uncertainty and the prospect of years of further negotiations over our future relationship with the EU.

“A blind Brexit could prolong business uncertainty and provide insufficient guarantees to protect jobs, the economy and rights. Whether you voted leave or remain, nobody voted for the purgatory of permanent negotiations.

“Theresa May and Dominic Raab promised that the Brexit deal put before Parliament will be ‘detailed, precise and substantive’.

“That is exactly what Labour expects and what I will be discussing in Brussels. If the final deal is anything less than the Government has promised, Labour will not support it.”

Yesterday Theresa May promised her top ministers she would not rush into a striking a Brexit deal with Brussels “at any cost”, as pressure grows for a resolution.

She told the Cabinet any exit agreement will be dependent on an “acceptable” framework for future relations in areas like trade and security, which will be covered in a separate political declaration.

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Sir Keir said the agreement must provide detailed answers on future trade, customs, immigration, security, research and collaboration and repeated warnings that Labour would vote against “anything less”.

A hard-talking three-hour meeting of the Cabinet focused heavily on how to keep the Irish border free-flowing after Brexit.

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier denied an agreement was close and suggesting he had not even heard of the latest potential breakthrough on the Irish question.

The key sticking point in exit talks is the “backstop” contingency plan to avoid re-establishing a “hard border” between Ireland and Northern Ireland after Brexit, if a permanent solution has not been found.

Talks are centred on a scheme that would keep the UK in the EU customs union temporarily, avoiding the need for new checks on cross-border trade.

The UK insists any such arrangement cannot trap Britain against its will and there must be a way for it to get out if trade talks with Brussels break down.

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Some ministers and MPs further insist that Britain must have the power, without EU approval, to end any customs union membership – a demand Ireland and the EU are resisting.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group of Brexiteer Tories, has underlined the struggle Mrs May could have to get her deal through Parliament.

He said there no extension of the customs union would be acceptable – and the Government must reveal how it calculates any analysis on the impact of a deal.

The “phoney figures” used to justify parts of Mrs May’s Chequers Deal trade plan showed “we can’t trust Treasury analysis”, he said.

“Therefore the Government must show its workings to Parliament.”

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