Minister upbeat on Brexit deal for financial sector

Minister upbeat on Brexit deal for financial sector

British Prime Minister Theresa May has secured a deal with the European Union on Brexit that will avoid the need for a hard border in Ireland, it has been reported.

This would avoid the EU's "backstop" solution of treating Northern Ireland differently from the rest of Britain.

Mrs May's cabinet are set to meet on Tuesday to discuss her plan, in the hope that enough progress would be made by Friday for bloc chiefs to announce a special summit, it has been claimed.

Downing Street has insisted it does not have a deal ready for signoff, in response to reports over the weekend of there being an agreement in the making.

The phone call between the two leaders came after Dominic Raab reportedly privately demanded the right to unilaterally end the backstop.

On Monday former foreign secretary Boris Johnson again denounced a mooted deal with the European Union as an "absolute stinker" and urged MPs to reject it.

Fears have been mounting among Eurosceptics that compromises on the key issue could effectively leave the United Kingdom in the customs union indefinitely - giving up numerous benefits of Brexit.

However, the newspaper also reported that the new deal will include an "exit clause" created to convince those who support Brexit that remaining in the customs union is only temporary.

"We are being asked to choose between the break-up of the Union - at least for economic purposes - or the subjugation of the whole country", said the former foreign secretary.

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"The Cabinet seems divided, the Government seems divided, Parliament is divided, and that has made it very hard to come to an agreement".

Mr Johnson dismissed suggestions that the arrangement would lead the way to a Canada-style trade deal, arguing that the joint UK/EU political declaration on the future relationship due to be released alongside the withdrawal agreement will be "worthless".

Senior sources told the paper that May has secured concessions from Brussels, with the EU agreeing to write an "all-U.K." customs union into the divorce deal.

"We want to have control of the immigration policy, Chequers does not appear to allow that".

"The (British) Prime Minister raised the possibility of a review mechanism for the backstop", the spokeswoman added.

A spokesman for Ireland's Tanaiste Simon Coveney said: "The UK has given written commitments last December and March that the Withdrawal Agreement will include a legal guarantee of no return to a hard border in Ireland in any circumstance. I certainly hope we are".

But the government's Brexit department stated that they are confident there will be a deal that works for businesses - and reiterated their stance against a People's Vote.

The two sides now have only days left to bridge the remaining gap in order for an European Union summit to be called this month that could sign off a divorce agreement.

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