Published: Wed, October 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

UK PM says still believes Brexit deal is 'achievable'

UK PM says still believes Brexit deal is 'achievable'

"I am sure that this is last thing Boris wants.' At yesterday's Cabinet meeting, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox told ministers that accepting the EU's proposed backstop as it is now written would amount to 'rolling the dice" on whether the United Kingdom would ever be able to escape the customs union.

Theresa May will address European Union leaders in Brussels on Wednesday night on the eve of a crucial summit.

The DUP leader said that nobody wants to see physical infrastructure on Irish border and expressed hope a sensible Brexit deal can be achieved.

The prime minister will pitch her latest proposal to them prior to dinner, before they retire to debate next steps. "Only such proposals can determine if a breakthrough is possible".

The Commission had planned to release its proposals last week but held off, officials said, because Brexit negotiators did not want to sour what was an increasingly positive mood in talks behind the scenes. The EU had gone as far as it could to address May's difficulties with her hardline pro-Brexit and Northern Irish allies, he said - now the summit must not let May think things were just carrying on as normal.

The border between Northern Ireland the Republic of Ireland remains biggest sticking point in negotiations.

Over the weekend, reports suggested that Cabinet members, including House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, could resign if the Brexit plan weren't hardened.

Shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman said: "With two days until a crucial European Union summit, it is simply extraordinary that the Cabinet can't agree what its plan for Brexit is".

"They discussed the need for a mechanism to clearly define how the backstop will end", the spokesman said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will address the European Union leaders in Brussels before they decide at dinner after May has left whether to firm up a tentative plan to hold a special Brexit summit in mid-November.

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Her official spokesman later told reporters: "The Cabinet strongly supported her on the importance of maintaining the integrity of the Union and agreed that we must ensure we can not be kept in a backstop arrangement indefinitely".

"The PM said there will no doubt be challenging moments ahead, that is in the nature of negotiations".

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson told Sky News the sit-down was "very good", but declined to comment when asked if there were any resignations.

"We are approaching the end of negotiations".

Also attending were International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, Treasury Secretary Liz Truss and Attorney General Geoffrey Cox.

Ministers arriving for Cabinet on Tuesday morning were offered sausage and bacon sandwiches.

However, it is being looked at seriously and that is why Mr Barnier felt able to brief member states in Luxembourg.

"We will use that time, calmly, with serious intent to find the overall deal in the coming weeks", he said.

Mr Roth made clear that Germany is alive to the problems Mrs May could face in getting any deal through Parliament, telling reporters: "I have the impression that it is hard to secure the appropriate parliamentary majority in Great Britain".

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