Ireland says UK Brexit plan a significant move in talks


British Prime Minister Theresa May secured cabinet agreement on Friday for her plans to leave the European Union, overcoming deep rifts among her ministers to win support for "a business-friendly" proposal to try to spur stalled Brexit talks.

British Prime Minister Theresa May secured cabinet agreement on Friday for her plans to leave the European Union, overcoming rifts among her ministers to win support for "a business-friendly" proposal aimed at spurring stalled Brexit talks.

EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier reacted warmly to the proposals, tweeting that the "Chequers discussion on future to be welcomed".

Tories who attended the first briefing organised by Downing Street on the plans said their concerns had been met, and Mrs May will hope that restive Brexiteers also fall in line when they hear more about the proposals which will be set out in a white paper on Thursday. Please refresh the page for the fullest version.

Addressing media at Chequers later, she said: "Of course we still have work to do with the European Union in ensuring that we get to that end point in October".

She said there was a "willingness to sit down and talk" about the plans.

May was forced to ditch her preferred option for a customs partnership, which would have seen Britain collecting tariffs on goods entering the country on the EU's behalf, under pressure from Brexit campaigners in her government.

THERESA May sought to bind internal critics into publicly supporting her Brexit policy, sending ministers out to make the case for it in newspapers and on the airwaves, as opponents on both sides began to point out shortfalls with her proposals. "This maintains high standards in these areas, but we will also ensure that no new changes in the future take place without the approval of our Parliament", May said, reports PTI.

For now, May, who has been written off by critics regularly since losing her Conservative Party's parliamentary majority in an ill-judged election previous year, will be buoyed by the hard-won agreement. They fear that Mrs May would have to make more concessions on issues such as the free movement of people and payments to the European Union budget to get a business-friendly exit deal, with minimum border friction.

Conservative legislator Jacob Rees-Mogg said he is waiting to see details but would vote against the plan if it retains too many ties to the EU.

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Their analysis produced five different scenarios based on three key factors: whether the UK is part of the EU Customs Union or has a bespoke customs deal; whether or not the UK is in the Single Market, has a bespoke single market deal, or no deal at all; and whether or not the UK has to adopt WTO tariffs in the event of no bespoke deal being struck with the EU.

He added: "We need to do worst case scenario planning".

An analysis of the Chequers statement circulating within the ERG was damning about the plans, a Brexiteer source said.

"An egg that is very softly boiled isn't boiled at all".

The Chequers proposals "lead directly to a worst-of-all-worlds "black hole" Brexit where the United Kingdom is stuck permanently as a vassal state in the EU's legal and regulatory tarpit", the briefing by Martin Howe QC concluded.

Tory MP Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot) said: "I've gone very carefully through everything and I can not see how what was agreed at Chequers actually does deliver Brexit, to be honest, hard or soft". His departure has the potential to derail the government and even set in motion a chain of events that could lead to an attempt to oust the prime minister.

Morecambe and Lunesdale MP David Morris said the package was "realistic" and Brexiteers now had to be "grown up" about it.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said Saturday the new plan may well "unravel" in the coming days.

"It would amount to the British government tying the hands of British business".

"I'm pretty confident we will end up with a concrete position which everybody is able to sign up to", said Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, hours before the meeting.