Theresa May denies climbdown on customs union policy

Glen Norman
May 18, 2018

The Taoiseach and the UK Prime Minister Theresa May held a bi-lateral meeting in Bulgaria where Ms May put some tentative proposals to him on avoiding a hard Border in Northern Ireland.

The source said extending the use of European Union tariffs was part of discussions to make the backstop arrangement more palatable to Britain, and could be triggered if there were a delay in the ratification of the Brexit deal or if there were problems introducing new technology at the border.

Ministers meeting on Tuesday agreed that Britain should try to stay aligned with the customs union if technology needed to operate borders under one of the government's proposals is not ready in time for 2021, the Telegraph said.

U.K. -EU negotiations are scheduled to resume in Brussels next week, ahead of a summit in June.

Brexit - UK seeking previously unthought of 'third way' around the Northern Ireland customs border impasse

"Nearly two years on from the referendum, ministers have still yet to agree what our future customs and trading relationship with Europe will look like after Brexit".

"In that scenario, you'd end up staying in the customs union because you'd have no other choice", a senior source told The Times.

"If I was an investor looking to invest in my own constituency here in Rochdale, or for that matter anywhere across Northern Ireland, I'd want a bit more certainty about how long this is going to last", he said.

"Certainly the customs partnership, as proposed by the United Kingdom last June, isn't workable, that's the view of the (EU) taskforce and the EU27 and has been rejected, but I do think the customs partnership is closer to being made workable than this proposal of "max fac", Varadkar told parliament.

Previously, we have argued that the threat that far-left Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn could become prime minister is the glue that binds the Conservatives together.

Ministers including Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and David Lidington discussed the "backstop" plan for Northern Ireland that will come into force if Mrs May's blueprint for customs arrangements collapses.

Britain is willing to stay aligned with European Union customs rules and tariffs until well into the 2020s, as ministers continue to battle over the UK's post-Brexit arrangements, according to multiple reports.

Theresa May will outline fresh proposals to avoid a hard border in Ireland as early as next week.

"Whether those divisions can be resolved in the next month remains to be seen".

Serious legal obstacles to the complex "customs partnership" plan could therefore emerge, and the government would not have time to resolve them before Brexit day, Mr. Davis has reportedly pointed out.

Until recently, "backstop" was a reference to the UK's government commitment in December 2017 for a customs solution that would help to secure an open border in Ireland even if negotiations failed.

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