BELFAST/LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May was beneath mounting stress on Monday to rethink her plan for leaving the European Union after Brexit talks reached a stand-off on the weekend over the so-called Irish backstop.
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May attends a roundtable assembly with business leaders whose corporations are inaugural signatories of the Race at Work Charter on the Southbank Centre in London, Britain, October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls – RC1786791A20
Less than six months earlier than Britain leaves the bloc and days earlier than May heads to Brussels for a summit on Wednesday when either side hope to make progress, the Brexit talks had been paused on Sunday after the 2 sides did not agree on tips on how to take care of the United Kingdom’s solely land border with the EU.
The downside of tips on how to forestall the return of a tough border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland has change into the largest hurdle to a deal on Brexit, Britain’s largest shift in coverage for greater than 40 years.
May, a self-declared unionist who has mentioned repeatedly that she couldn’t countenance the breakup of the United Kingdom, is struggling to discover a strategy to fulfill the calls for of not solely the EU, however of her Conservative Party and her companions in parliament, Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
For now, there has been little success in narrowing the hole between these competing calls for, and Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney mentioned any deal would now “take a bit more time than many people had hoped”.
The DUP, which has threatened to drag assist from the government over the backstop row, mentioned it now believed a no-deal Brexit was nearly inevitable and described the talks in Brussels as turning right into a “battle for the union”.
“Given the way in which the EU has behaved and the corner they’ve put Theresa May into, there’s no deal which I can see at present which will command a majority in the House of Commons,” mentioned the occasion’s Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson.
“So it is probably inevitable that we will end up with a no-deal scenario,” he advised the Belfast News Letter.
May’s former international minister, Boris Johnson, the figurehead of Britain’s Brexit marketing campaign and one of many bookmakers’ favourites to switch May, was equally crucial, saying the talks had been “now entering the moment of crisis”.
“In presuming to change the constitutional arrangements of the United Kingdom, the EU is treating us with naked contempt,” he wrote in his weekly column within the Telegraph newspaper.
“It is time to scrap the backstop.”
BACKSTOP TO A BACKSTOP
It was that form of opposition which made it inconceivable for May’s Brexit minister Dominic Raab to comply with a deal in Brussels on Sunday.
British officers mentioned London couldn’t comply with Brussels’ demand to have “a backstop to a backstop”, which might see the EU’s proposal to maintain Northern Ireland within the bloc’s customs union if a brand new buying and selling relationship is just not in place in time.
Britain has lengthy mentioned it needs an settlement on a future relationship with the EU, which London sees as together with a standard rule e book for manufactured and agricultural merchandise, which might negate any want for a backstop plan for Ireland.
But EU negotiators have criticised that proposal, and mentioned on Sunday it was clear that, as issues stood, May didn’t really feel she may get a deal via her cupboard of ministers, who will meet on Tuesday.
EU officers and diplomats say they are going to “keep calm and carry on”, hoping May can kind out her issues in London.
British officers had been optimistic of constructing some progress on the EU summit this week, with international minister Jeremy Hunt telling reporters in Luxembourg: “There are one or two very difficult outstanding issues but I think we can get there. Whether we do this week or not, who knows? But I know everyone is trying incredibly hard.”
But any resolution to the border query regarded far off. Ireland once more mentioned Britain should make good on its dedication to have a backstop plan.
“For us we want to see an outcome here that settles nerves, that allows us to move ahead with a managed, sensible Brexit,” Ireland’s Coveney advised reporters.
“I still think it’s possible to do that, but clearly it’s going to take a bit more time than many people had hoped.”
Additional reporting by William James in London, Alastair Macdonald in Brussels; Editing by Janet Lawrence