Unlimited Brexit backstop would leave United Kingdom trapped in unacceptable arrangements - DUP

Howard TerryOct 14, 2018

Following three days of talks with key figures in Brussels, DUP leader Arlene Foster - whose party props up the Government at Westminster - issued a renewed warning that they could not accept the European Union proposals as they stood.

Other Brexit campaigners, however, are said to agree that a firm time limit risks derailing talks with the European Union and fear the so-called no-deal Brexit would be the worst outcome.

According to a private email exchange between senior United Kingdom officials, seen by the Observer, Foster had expressed deep disappointment about her meeting with Barnier, and outlined her wider thinking, during a dinner with the leader of the Conservative MEPs, Ashley Fox.

Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, said on Thursday afternoon that the prime minister could not "in good conscience" recommend such a deal and vowed to oppose it.

The Scottish Government said their analysis of the documents suggested consumers could potentially face higher electricity bills as a result of changes to trading arrangements.

Britain rejects the EU's proposed solution - to keep Northern Ireland inside the bloc's single market and customs union after the rest of the UK leaves - because it would create new barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK The EU has asked for a counter-proposal from Britain. Losing a budget vote would plunge the government into crisis.

Meanwhile, pro-EU Tory MPs faced a campaign orchestrated by insurance tycoon and Leave.EU founder Arron Banks - although he insisted the funding came from Brexit-supporting small donors.

Under pressure from all sides, Theresa May told journalists at Downing Street reception that talks on the key issue of the Irish border were likely to continue until November, while cabinet ministers who met with May yesterday evening were cited by the Financial Times as saying the border issue was close to being settled.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said: "Securing a good deal with our European Union partners remains our top priority". "The prime minister would never agree to a deal which could trap the United Kingdom in a backstop permanently", she said.

But the Guardian and Daily Telegraph reported that the option of a potential extension was being considered by negotiators in Brussels to allow extra time to drawn up a deal on the future UK-EU relationship - and avoid the need to use a controversial "backstop" arrangement to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Numerous problems are now being solved on a step by step basis "but there are, of course" several big issues which we really need to get to grips with, ' the prime minister said. Britain's Brexit minister, Dominic Raab, could also come to Brussels then if weekend talks cover enough ground. May will attempt to finalise the terms of a withdrawal deal at a summit in Brussels beginning on Wednesday evening.

Former Brexit secretary David Davis said the plan was "completely unacceptable" and urged Cabinet ministers to "exert their collective authority".

"Trade from Great Britain into Northern Ireland would be in danger of restriction", Foster said.

The emails are particularly important because the Government now relies on the support of 10 DUP MPs for its Commons majority.

They are reported to claim that would fuel the case for Scottish independence.

The paper claims Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the Commons, is said to be "considering her position".

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