European Union says Brexit deal 'within reach' but work remains

Jermaine Castillo
October 12, 2018

Meanwhile, also on Friday and speaking in London following a hard informal meeting of cabinet ministers in Downing Street, Mr Raab admitted the backstop issue is the "one real sticking point" in negotiations as he offered contradictory comments to Mr Coveney.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has threatened to bring down the government if the deal results in new barriers to trade between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain.

Among those due to attend today's War Cabinet are: the Prime Minister's effective deputy David Lidington; Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary; Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary; Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary; Greg Clark, the Business Secretary; Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, and Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary.

As key Cabinet members met in Downing Street, they were warned by DUP leader Arlene Foster that they could not in "good conscience" accept the proposals now on the table from the EU.

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The key question is how to let Britain exit the European Union without too much disruption to trade and without reinstalling a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Britain's Northern Ireland.

The backstop plan is created to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and European Union member the republic of Ireland.

He told the BBC's Political Thinking podcast: "Their behaviour was pretty intolerable, but not almost as intolerable as the way the present prime minister is being treated".

"I hope for progress and there is progress, but the devil is in the details, as they say", said Merkel, who was in The Hague for talks with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte .

Agreeing on how to maintain an open Irish border after Brexit is the key hurdle now to sealing a divorce deal between the European Union and Britain.

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Negotiators are working against the clock as they try to reach a breakthrough over the Northern Irish and Irish border issue by Monday.

In what was interpreted as a warning shot against the government, DUP lawmakers on Wednesday failed to back the government in voting against an amendment to an Agriculture Bill.

The Telegraph mentioned eurosceptic global development secretary Penny Mordaunt and pension secretary Esther McVey.

On Wednesday, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said there would have to be checks on goods travelling to Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom, because they would effectively be arriving in the EU's single market if there was no hard border with the Republic of Ireland.

"If people are sitting in cabinet they either support the government's policy or they don't sit in cabinet", Sir John said.

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