Dutch PM 'cautiously optimistic' about progress on Brexit talks

Leroy Wright
October 13, 2018

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said on Friday: "I think there could be developments over the weekend in terms of the Government's own position and the Cabinet, so we will remain focused on the priorities for Northern Ireland".

The Irish border "backstop", which seeks to avoid extensive checks on the frontier between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU state Ireland should the open border there not be maintained by a new, post-Brexit EU-UK trade partnership, is the biggest sticking point.

The newspaper said two eurosceptic ministers were rumoured to be considering quitting the government, and that other lawmakers from May's Conservative Party were "fuming" that she appeared ready to accept a Brexit "backstop" to keep Britain in a "temporary" but potentially indefinite customs union with the EU.

Prime Minister Theresa May relies on her DUP allies' 10 MPs to prop up her minority Government in key votes and there have been suggestions the Northern Irish party could vote against the Budget.

Numerous problems are now being solved on a step by step basis "but there are, of course" several big issues which we really need to get to grips with, ' the prime minister said.

So in the coming days, when we see legal text of draft backstop and Withdrawal Agreement, this will surely be the time for Tory Brexiters to choose between supporting the PM and maintaining the fiction of party unity on the one hand and their ambitions for what the United Kingdom could and should be.

The prime minister's spokeswoman told journalists on Friday morning: "The prime minister would never agree to a deal which would trap the United Kingdom in a backstop permanently".

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The intention was to have them work as a team of five until December, when the three scientists now aboard would return to Earth. Russian Federation has launched an investigation and suspended all launches of manned spacecraft until the probe is complete.

Mr Coveney said a time-limited backstop was a "deal breaker".

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he spoke to May by phone on Friday and added that "we hope that next week at the European summit, if at all possible, the first results emerge".

Rogers, who quit his post past year, said both May's plan, which would keep Britain in the European Union single market for goods, and rival Boris Johnson's vision of a looser free-trade deal have "precisely zero" chance of being accepted by the bloc.

Her spokeswoman said yesterday London would present further proposals, which she described as "regulatory aspects", for the backstop border arrangement "in due course".

There is no hard border at present, as goods and services are traded between the two countries with few restrictions as both are now part of the EU single market and customs union.

Mr Raab said: "We're confident we will have continuity on Eurostar, even in the worst case scenario of a "no deal" situation".

Mrs Foster said Mrs Thatcher "later deeply regretted the choice she had made".

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