United Kingdom will not agree Brexit deal at any cost: May

Nellie Chapman
November 10, 2018

The UK's withdrawal agreement is 95% complete, although negotiations are continuing with Brussels over the stumbling block of the Irish border issue.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that British Prime Minister Theresa May "is, as we are, made a decision to have the deal, and we will have a deal".

"Repeatedly people seem to make the same mistake over and over again, assuming that if the British Cabinet agrees something, well, then that's it then, everything is agreed".

The European Union's fallback proposal aimed at avoiding a hard border between Ireland and the United Kingdom would effectively keep Northern Ireland aligned with Brussels's customs union and single market.

This could curtail Dr Fox's ability to sign independent trade deals after Brexit.

A potential sticking point could be demands for European Union fishing fleets to be given continued access to British coastal waters as the price for agreeing to Mrs May's UK-wide backstop, the Daily Telegraph reported.

"This is a negotiation and needs to be an agreement of course between the British Government, but also with the European Union and the 27 countries that are represented by Michel Barnier and his negotiating team".

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But, asked whether the option of the United Kingdom exiting a backstop arrangement could be left as a decision to be mutually-agreed with the European Union and Dublin, Dr Fox disagreed.

Earlier today former Brexit secretary David Davis said it was "not acceptable" to make the United Kingdom wait until the Irish government and EU Commission had given it approval to withdraw from the backstop.

Brexit talks had been deadlocked over the so-called backstop - the fallback position that would be activated if a future EU-UK trade deal does not produce a solution that would prevent a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The European elections will be the first of the post-Brexit era.

Some cabinet ministers want to see the full legal advice given to May setting out how any customs arrangement could be ended to avoid it becoming a permanent settlement.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that, while the Attorney General's legal advice to government is considered confidential, he could answer MP's questions about it.

"Seven days is probably pushing it, but I am optimistic that there will be a Brexit deal", Hunt said, adding it is "very, very hard to resolve but I am confident that we can".

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