Britain's Raab wants to "heat up" Brexit talks

Elias Hubbard
July 20, 2018

That, the executive European Commission insisted, was not the reason for its warning on stepping up preparedness for a "no deal" or "cliff edge" Brexit.

"Time to intensify our negotiations", Raab tweeted ahead of travelling to Belgium to meet Barnier.

But he added that the United Kingdom was stepping up preparations for a "no deal" Brexit and would shortly be publishing advice for businesses on how to cope with it to minimize "disruption".

It highlighted checks at a new border, the validity of licences, certificates and authorisations issued by Britain as well as data transfers.

Britons voted to leave the 28-nation bloc in June 2016, but negotiations were only launched a year later and have bogged down frequently since then.

May is battling to unite her Conservative Party around her blueprint, formally unveiled last week following months of cabinet infighting.

In extraordinary scenes, the trade minister George Hollingbery engaged in open negotiations with the customs union rebels from the dispatch box, offering them a Lords amendment for a "customs arrangement" backstop if they backed down.

The prime minister herself was absent, as she was giving evidence to MPs on the Commons liaison committee, where she faced a tough grilling from Brexit hardliners.

Boris johnson
Britain's Raab wants to "heat up" Brexit talks

With time running short and little sign of May quelling the revolts in her party, there has been renewed discussion among Brussels diplomats and officials about whether a deal can be done by October, or at the latest December, to allow parliaments on both sides to ratify a withdrawal treaty before March 29.

"Preparing for the withdrawal is not just a matter for European Union and national authorities but also for private parties", says the Aviation safety rules notice, which mentions for example that certificates of air safety issued before the withdrawal date by the competent authorities of the United Kingdom on the basis of the provisions of the Basic Regulation and its implementing rules will no longer be valid as of the withdrawal date in the EU.

While Raab conceded there were some "gaps" in the withdrawal agreement that needed to be filled, Barnier emphasised the "urgency" of finding a solution for the most thorny issue in that deal: avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland. "We don't have the luxury of doing an impact assessment", one official said on condition of anonymity.

On Wednesday, the Irish government said it had stepped up preparations for Britain's departure, including what it called the "unlikely case of a "no deal" Brexit".

But Johnson said May had gone back on her "glorious vision" for Brexit, which involved breaking from the EU's courts, customs unions and single market, and forging new trade deals.

"The EU has simply not taken us seriously so far in terms of the future agreement".

European Union affairs ministers meeting in Brussels on Friday will also discuss preparations.

And with the situation so "volatile" in London, the source said, they will "try not to put oil on the fire".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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