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May's 'secret' Brexit deal avoids Irish backstop

05 November 2018

The divisions emerged as Theresa May's top Brexit negotiator, Olly Robbins, prepares to go to Brussels to clinch an in-principle Brexit divorce deal this week, triggering an extraordinary European Union leaders summit later this month in order to cement the deal.

Mr Davis said: "If the attorney-general has warned - as has been reported - that the United Kingdom will not know when the backstop would end and compared it to being stuck in Dante's first circle of hell, then it's time to put an end to this nonsense once and for all."Mr Davis said: "We need the cards laid on the table so we can form a judgment".

Downing Street officials misled ministers at the time.

But Mr Johnson dismissed this format as "a Christmas present of the finest old Brussels fudge" which would mean the United Kingdom getting "absolutely nothing in return" for its £39 billion divorce payment.

Writing in the Sun, Mr Johnson described the arrangement as a "national humiliation", leaving the United Kingdom as "a vassal state, a colony".

Mr Johnson dismissed suggestions that the arrangement would lead the way to a Canada-style trade deal, arguing that the joint UK/EU political declaration on the future relationship due to be released alongside the withdrawal agreement will be "worthless".

"This position leaves Northern Ireland a rule taker from Brussels".

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"We are being asked to choose between the break-up of the Union - at least for economic purposes - or the subjugation of the whole country", said the Uxbridge MP. "We need to stop before it is too late".

The EU has proposed a backstop that would mean Northern Ireland staying in the EU customs union, large parts of the single market and the EU VAT system. Under this plan we surrender control to Brussels.

The British government must abide by its commitment to avoid a hard border, Simon Coveney has warned amid speculation about a breakthrough in Brexit talks.

The Irish border has proved the biggest obstacle to a deal, with both sides vowing not to reinstate a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland for fear of destabilizing a peace accord that ended decades of deadly sectarian violence.

In a major intervention on the controversial backstop, amid reports that the government plans to keep Northern Ireland in aspects of the European Union trade structures, Mr Davis said it was "pretty clear there is genuine and significant concern regarding the implications of any fresh backstop text". "I certainly hope we are".

Even if a deal is done in Brussels in the coming days, May will have to sell it in London - first to her own Cabinet, and then to Parliament.

"We hope a deal can be done but we're not there yet".

May's 'secret' Brexit deal avoids Irish backstop