Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Eurostar services could stop under 'no-deal' Brexit, government paper warns

Boris Johnson calls for PM May to ditch Brexit border backstop Report sounds alarm about Brexit risks to UK clinical trials environment
Priscilla Morrison | 13 October, 2018, 13:23

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt and the Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom also said to have "deep concerns".

Sammy Wilson said: "It was a way of reminding the government that while our vote wasn't important last night, it would be important some time in the future and we would have no hesitation withholding it if we thought that was a necessary sanction to impose".

It came as Mrs May's "inner cabinet" was briefed last night on plans for a no-deal Brexit amid reports that progress ahead of a crucial European Union summit next week had been slower than hoped.

The Downing Street spokeswoman repeated that Britain wanted a new trade deal by the end of December 2021 at the latest, although she declined to confirm the backstop would be "time-limited".

Speaking during an interview on Sky News, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said: "We are confident that we will have continuity on Eurostar".

Brussels has insisted that, as an insurance plan, the backstop can not by its very nature have an end date.

"That won't wash. The British people voted to take back control over money, laws, borders and trade", said former Brexit minister Steve Baker, one of a powerful group of eurosceptic Conservative MPs in parliament.

The prime minister briefed ministers on negotiations yesterday amid speculation that the government is moving closer to a deal with Brussels.

More news: Senate Reaches Deal On 15 Judges

They also come with threats by May's Northern Irish allies to withdraw their support and force her to face a potential confidence motion that could lead to early elections.

Chancellor Philip Hammond became the first senior Government figure to suggest that the backstop - created to keep the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic open in the case that no broader EU/UK trade deal is finalised - will "probably" have to come into effect for a period.

EU leaders have a two-day summit starting Wednesday, and sources have claimed Mrs May will keep the entire United Kingdom inside the Customs Union for a potentially unlimited time frame, stopping the nation controlling trade policy.

May hopes British negotiators can strike a deal over the weekend, which she can discuss with the cabinet on Tuesday.

Both sides had set the October 18 summit as the deadline for a divorce deal, but the timetable is slipping, with another summit in November now looking likely.

A Number 10 source said that the Government's position had not changed and "big issues" had yet to be ironed out.

If a deal is done, he suggested Britain could enjoy a "deal dividend" which "should deliver us an upside in the form of higher economic growth and better outcomes".

The future of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland has proved to be a key issue in the Brexit talks.

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