Theresa May refuses to back down over backstop time limit

BMW Inaugurates New Production Line in Leipzig

The Prime Minister last night held a secretive meeting of her "inner cabinet" to outline her proposals to secure a Brexit divorce deal with the EU.

She reportedly pitched her solution to the Northern Ireland "backstop", a major sticking point in the negotiations that has bitterly divided her party and caused friction with the EU. "Without an end date, we could be in the customs union forever".

Cabinet ministers briefed on the Brexit talks said the issue of the Irish backstop was close to being settled, the FT said.

The Northern Irish party that British Prime Minister Theresa May's government relies on for support says it will consider backing a vote of no-confidence if May agrees to European Union checks on goods entering the region post-Brexit.

The DUP is propping up Mrs May's minority government and on Wednesday they threatened to vote down the budget and move to topple the government if the Prime Minister breaches their Brexit "red lines".

Brexit supporters accept there is likely to be some short-term economic pain but say the government is trying to scare voters about the impact of a no-deal exit.

The DUP are also threatening to withdraw their support from May's government with one source telling Politico "right now, Labour's position is better for us than May's".

US stocks plunge toward their worst loss in six months
It followed a bleak session in Europe, where Germany's Dax and France's Cac 40 had each ended the day more than 2% lower. While stocks fell, the price of gold jumped by 2.5pc to $US1,222 an ounce as investors rushed to safe-haven assets.

Any extension of the transition period, as suggested by Britain's finance minister Philip Hammond on Friday [nL9N1VZ00W], would raise the issue of the British rebate as it would coincide with the bloc entering the new budgetary period that could already be rebate-free.

Under current implementation plans, Britain's transition from the European Union will last 21 months and enables both sides to agree a future partnership while avoiding a "cliff edge".

However Brexiteers - including Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab - are insisting any arrangement which would see the United Kingdom effectively remain part of the customs union while negotiations over a free trade deal take place must be strictly time-limited - something the EU has been resisting.

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey, who wasn't at the meeting, has repeatedly refused to endorse the prime minister's Chequers blueprint for Brexit.

With goodwill from both sides, he said an "agreement is within reach" as British Prime Minister Theresa May and her 27 counterparts in the bloc get ready to meet in Brussels on October 17.

As key Cabinet members met in Downing Street, they were warned by DUP leader Arlene Foster that they could not in "good conscience" accept the proposals now on the table from the EU.

Blasting the proposed deal, she said: "Trade from Great Britain into Northern Ireland would be in danger of restriction".

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