Brexit: Irish rule out time-limited Brexit backstop

Senator Neale Richmond who chairs the Seanad’s Brexit Committee clashed with Tory MP Owen Paterson

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis told a Sunday newspaper that the Prime Minister must publish legal advice on any deal so that Ministers and MPs understand its implications before they are asked to vote on it, in order to avoid the "mess" that Tony Blair's government got into over the legality of the Iraq war.

Theresa May appears to have accepted that an open border with the Irish Republic is absolutely vital - despite its regular exploitation by organised criminals and illegal migrants - but can not leave Northern Ireland in the Customs Union by itself, as this would lead to customs checks between Britain's Home Nations.

Brexit is fraying Britain's relationship with Ireland, the country's prime minister Leo Varadkar has warned.

In a tweet on Monday Mr Coveney said: "The Irish position remains consistent and very clear that a "time-limited backstop" or a backstop that could be ended by United Kingdom unilaterally would never be agreed to by Ireland or EU".

But the government's Brexit department stated that they are confident there will be a deal that works for businesses - and reiterated their stance against a People's Vote.

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The backstop plan enraged the DUP, which is propping up May's Conservative government at Westminster, and the PM has since said she could "not accept" any deal that would require a customs border between the North and Great Britain. Raab's department said it did not comment on private meetings.

Under the banner headline "Revealed: Theresa May's secret Brexit deal", The Sunday Times said the European Union accepts that regulatory checks on goods can be carried out in factories and shops rather than at the border.

The publication states that the arrangement will will also include an "exit clause" that will aim at convincing Brexiteers that remaining in the customs union is only temporary.

The Sunday Times report said preparations for a final Brexit deal were "far more advanced than previously disclosed" and that May's agreement would satisfy both remain-voting Tories and the hardline Eurosceptics within her party.

"We are making good progress on the future relationship, and 95% of the Withdrawal Agreement has been settled".

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Mr Coveney's spokesperson said the European Union had been united through the Brexit process and the UK had given written commitments that the Withdrawal Agreement would give a legal guarantee of no return to a hard Border in Ireland in any circumstance.

"We are not sitting on powder keg knowledge that we have signed a secret deal", the No 10 source said.

He said that an all-UK customs union would not breach the EU's red lines.

It is speculated that May is hoping for enough progress in Brexit talks this week to secure a summit later this month in which the final details of a deal will be negotiated.

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