EU Talks Break Down, Ministers Told to Have ‘No Deal’ Brexit Preparations Ready in Weeks


Talks between Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and EU negotiator Michel Barnier have broken down, and ministers and civil servants have been told to have preparations for a ‘No Deal’ Brexit ready within weeks.

Raab, who replaced David Davis after he resigned from his post saying Theresa May’s proposals for a deal with the EU would not really deliver Brexit, flew out to Brussels on Sunday for surprise talks amid speculation that an agreement was imminent — but they broke down after little more than an hour, according to The Times.

It has been reported that the talks have reached an impasse over the EU demanding a ‘backstop to the backstop’, — referring to the already highly contentious proposal that the entire United Kingdom stay inside the European Union’s Customs Union, possibly indefinitely, if no other solution can be found to maintain a customs-free border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU member-state the Republic of Ireland.

Eurocrats are said to be insisting on another ‘backstop’ on top of this one; namely that contingencies be put in place for Northern Ireland to be kept in the EU’s Customs Union and Single Market by itself if there are any issues keeping the whole United Kingdom in.

Such a proposal is considered anathema to Northern Ireland’s Brexit-supporting, socially conservative Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which Theresa May’s minority administration relies on to achieve a parliamentary majority.

DUP leader Arlene Foster has vowed to veto any deal which might imperil Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom or place administrative barriers between it and the British mainland.

The DUP’s Brexit spokesman, Sammy Wilson, has indicated that the party’s position is that the UK should now prepare for ‘No Deal’, as the EU’s intransigence has rendered Theresa May incapable of putting together a deal Parliament could approve.

“Given the way in which the EU has behaved and the corner they’ve put Theresa May into, there’s no deal which I can see at present which will command a majority in the House of Commons. So it is probably inevitable that we will end up with a ‘No Deal’ scenario,” he said.

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