European Union officials warned to prepare for no-deal Brexit

Theresa May   Getty

Theresa May Getty

The Tory Brexiteers won't support her Chequers plan for leaving the European Union which could mean she relies on Labour to get Parliamentary approval for a deal, Steve Baker said.

In a speech in Brussels, Barnier reiterated his rejection of the counter-proposals hammered out by the cabinet at Chequers, which Theresa May insists is the only deal that respects both the referendum result and the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom by ensuring "frictionless" trade and no hard border.

Michel Barnier has said that a Brexit deal is "within reach" by next Wednesday but warned that the only way to avoid border checks in the Irish Sea is if Britain stays in a customs union with Brussels.

That is significant from the DUP's perspective because it would mean that the party's deal for £1 billion of funding for public services in Northern Ireland - most of which has not yet been paid - would continue under a new leader.

Barnier said Brexit would trigger the need for customs, Value-Added Tax and compliance checks with EU standards between Ireland and Northern Ireland in the event that a planned "backstop" were triggered because a future EU-UK trade deal was not sufficient in itself to ensure the land frontier was not a "hard border".

Talk of a draft deal having been agreed in Brussels on the Irish backstop was rubbished by Whitehall insiders, who urged caution.

Foster has said that is part of her "blood red lines" over Brexit.

Earlier on Wednesday the DUP said its MP's would be prepared to vote against the Prime Minister's budget if she breaks the party's "red lines" on Brexit.

"The UK wants to leave and will leave the single market and customs union", he told a conference of business leaders, "This means there must be checks on goods travelling between EU and UK that do not exist today".

'Of course the Government are going to whip this vote extremely hard, but what I would say is that the whips would be doing incredibly well if they were to halve the numbers.

He said: "The future relationship itself might mitigate the checks and even make some unnecessary".

There could also be "market surveillance" checks carried out in Northern Ireland by officials, like trading standards officers.

But he made clear that the European Union envisages a deal involving new customs and regulatory checks on goods travelling from mainland Britain to Northern Ireland, including health and sanitary inspections for all animals and animal products arriving in ports like Larne and Belfast from the rest of the UK.

But Foster refused to consider such a compromise on Tuesday, saying: "What we said to Barnier is checks of themselves are symptomatic of something different, so we only need checks if Northern Ireland is following a different regulatory regime to the rest of the UK".

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.