Published: Sat, October 20, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Everything you need to know about the Brexit talks so far

Everything you need to know about the Brexit talks so far

Losing the budget vote could spark a challenge against May from inside her Conservative party.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

For many who campaigned to leave the European Union, the idea of continuing to pay into the bloc well beyond Britain leaves in March next year is anathema.

If progress had been made at the European Council meeting of leaders, an extra summit was expected to be held in November to sign off the deal.

The four parties have previously released joint statements expressing concerns about the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland.

Agreement at a formal December summit is viewed by all sides as the final deadline, to leave enough time for its ratification by the British and European parliaments before Brexit day.

On Twitter, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said the prime minister's decision was "not surprising".

He added: "If you speak to families living on the border area they will talk in very emotive terms about their fears of the re-emergence of that border infrastructure and it's important to be honest about that". Particularly since we will have already paid our £39bn financial settlement on leaving, says Boris Johnson, the pro-Brexit former foreign secretary, in the same paper.

"The prime minister claims to be acting on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland but is only listening to the DUP, who are presenting a distorted position".

He added: "Leo Varadkar has taken a sledgehammer to the work which was done but even more worrying is his total disregard to the impact of his irresponsible and reckless rhetoric on the peace of Northern Ireland".

Both leaders spoke by telephone earlier this week, however there were no indications they are closer to resolving the outstanding Irish border issue.

Seeking to unblock the stalled divorce talks May said the initial 21-month transition could be extended by "a matter of months".

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"At the very beginning she threw away the one negotiating lever that she had, namely the £39 billion that they (the EU) want to get their hands on", Mr Wilson said.

Mrs McEntee told BBC Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster that Mrs May had reaffirmed her commitment to the backstop on Wednesday night. "But I have to say the period since I made that speech we have had a very different approach from the European Union a more constructive approach that has led to the situation we're in now where all but one or two issues have been resolved".

"One that ensures we don't have any kind of a border and one that protects the peace process, however, we have to have that insurance policy, and Theresa May reaffirmed her commitment to it last night". But it is hard to see how negotiations could be extended for more than a couple of months.

For all her "wittering" at the dispatch box about backstops, she "can get nothing worth having through parliament or the EU".

Varadkar also warned that a return of customs posts on Ireland's border with Northern Ireland could lead to violence returning to the British province.

"I really need to say though that any extension to the transition period couldn't be a substitute to the backstop, it would still need to have that".

At a three-hour cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning, which included ministers with reservations about her strategy, May said a deal was possible if they all stood together.

"There is still the question of the Northern Irish backstop".

The support of 48 MPs - 15 percent of the parliamentary party - is needed to trigger a vote of confidence.

Britain has proposed instead that all of the United Kingdom could stay in a customs union - but only temporarily.

The lack of progress scrapped plans for a special European Union summit on Brexit that had been penciled in for next month, though European Union leaders said they would assess the situation later.

The two sides remain deadlocked, and this week's summit, which had been billed as a make-or-break moment, turned simply into a chance for Britain and the European Union to give themselves more time - perhaps until the end of the year - to break the logjam.

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