Berlin braced for all Brexit scenarios, including no deal - Merkel

Elias Hubbard
October 17, 2018

The backstop was just there to "bridge the gap" between the end of the transition period and when the "future relationship" is in place, something she was confident would happen on 1 January, 2021.

Instead, Barnier has told European Union 27 foreign ministers that more time is needed to find an agreement and resolution to the Irish border issue.

Theresa May is to address European Union leaders as she battles to keep her faltering hopes of securing a Brexit deal alive.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will address the European Union leaders in Brussels before they decide at dinner after May has left whether to firm up a tentative plan to hold a special Brexit summit in mid-November.

Both sides stress that there was progress on other unresolved issues, such as how the withdrawal agreement could be governed, and any role for the European Court of Justice, and the mutual recognition of Geographical Indications, such as Champagne, and Welsh Caerphilly.

The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier was open to extending Britain's Brexit transition by another year.

"We want to secure a deal as quickly as possible".

Downing Street insiders do not now believe there is much prospect of the EU27 recommending a special November summit to seal a deal.

Britain leaves the European Union on March 29 but a deal must be sealed soon so relevant parliaments have time to give their verdict.

The call from European Council president Donald Tusk came as Mrs May urged her Cabinet to "stand together and stand firm" on Brexit, after negotiations stalled in the run-up to a crucial summit.

Mr Corbyn said International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt and Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey have refused to say they backed the Chequers plan, joking: "Maybe she could share a pizza with them and sort it out".

Addressing MPs in the House of Commons on Monday, May had said a deal was "achievable" while sticking to her principles on the Irish border issue.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

Merkel said: "The chance of achieving a good and sustainable withdrawal agreement in good time is still there, and it is really in the interest of our relations with Britain, in the interest of our economy. and of course in the interest of people in our countries".

She is hemmed in by pro-Brexit members of her Conservative Party, who oppose any more compromises with the bloc, and by her parliamentary allies in Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, who insist a solution to the border issue can't include customs checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to urge her counterparts to give ground on Britain's departure from the bloc, while European Union leaders hope she brings "concrete proposals" to break the deadlock.

And Mrs Leadsom herself said: "The Prime Minister is doing a very, very complicated job and I'm fully supporting her in getting that done".

He said his party would stop short of pulling the government down and triggering a general election, but added: "Under the fixed term parliament act there is a lot we cannot support in terms of the government's domestic, financial, welfare and other legislation which does not trigger Jeremy Corbyn getting into Number 10".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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