Ministers water down changes to ‘meaningful’ Brexit vote


EU respects Britain's redlines and Britain should also respect EU's, said Barnier, noting that the union will not be intimidated by the game of blame across the Channel.

Mrs May believes this would keep the Irish border open, while avoiding creating a customs border between Northern Ireland and the British mainland, as the EU's backstop proposal would.

The prime minister has refused to guarantee her proposed Brexit "backstop" will end in December 2021, despite the date being stated as an expectation in a government negotiating paper.

"The UK is clear that the temporary customs arrangement, should it be needed, should be time limited", said the document.

Mrs May has said the United Kingdom will leave the customs union after Brexit but the government has struggled to come up with an alternative arrangement, which is acceptable to the EU to avoid the need for border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

In a recording obtained by BuzzFeed news, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was quoted as telling Conservative party donors that May's government is ready to start playing hardball with the EU, just three weeks before Brexit is discussed among European leaders.

"In the event of a "no-deal- Brexit", it will be the logistics industry, which operates 24/7, 365 days a year, that will have to pick up the pieces of the failure of politicians to agree", said Mr Hookham.

He said: "The clock is ticking on the Brexit process and it is imperative that an agreement is struck which will protect jobs, the economy and ensure there is no hard border in Northern Ireland".

"What my focus now is, on making sure that at the end in October, when we come together with the withdrawal agreement and our future relationship we have a good relationship for the future that is going to deliver for the British people", she said.

Of those asked in Northern Ireland, 58.6% said they felt Irish, 57.9% said they felt Northern Irish, 56.7% said they felt European, and 56.7% said they felt European - compared to 46.7% for people who felt British.

"Of the eight demands made in FTA's list of essentials to "Keep Britain Trading", issued at the beginning of the year, not a single one has been progressed", he said.

May's ministers are split on what kind of customs deal Britain should seek from the European Union ahead of a summit of the bloc's leaders which will try to make progress on the stalemated Brexit negotiations this month. "Why? Because it has been designed for the specific situation of Northern Ireland".

"The point is, do we reach quick decisions or do we reach the right decisions?" "The temporary backstop is not in line with what we want or what Ireland and Northern Ireland want and need".

The so-called backstop proposal was published after last-minute wrangling over the wording with Brexit Secretary David Davis, who was reported to have been considering resigning unless it included a time limit. "A people's vote must be held before March 29, 2019, to decide our country's future", the organization said in its roadmap.