Former Brexit minister says European Union exit talks will need a 'reset'

Welcome Theresa May is greeted by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in Salzburg last night

While she will say the United Kingdom will honour its commitment to ensure there is a "legally operative protocol" on the Irish border, it must preserve the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom, which the existing proposal does not.

The prime minister's key message will be that her team could never accept a "backstop" that resulted in Northern Ireland having different customs arrangements to the rest of the UK.

Britain leaves in late March but both sides are keen to seal an agreement in coming weeks to leave relevant parliaments enough time to ratify it.

In bid to give negotiations more time, EU leaders are set to push the target for a deal back from the European Council on 18 October to an emergency summit in mid-November.

The national campaign for a second referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union on the terms being negotiated by the British government set out six scenarios in which such a vote would be possible, as it sought new momentum and show that the referendum - long talked about in theory - was practically possible.

"UKIP has always said that no deal, which is really reverting to WTO terms, is better than a bad deal with the EU".

He said the European Union is not proposing "a border, neither on land or at sea".

The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said he is ready to come forward with an "improved" proposal on the Irish border in an attempt break the deadlock in the Brexit talks. So I think this is the moment to see that matched.

UK PM tells rebels: It’s my Brexit deal or no deal
EU negotiator: we’re ready to come up with a better backstop proposal

At the dinner at the spectacular Felsenreitschule theatre - known to film fans for a scene in the musical "The Sound of Music" - May will make another pitch for support for her Chequers plan, named after her country residence where a deal was hashed out with her ministers earlier this year.

The UK is resolutely opposed to creating a new border in the Irish Sea, separating Northern Ireland from mainland Britain.

Both sides need to demonstrate good will in order to avoid Britain's messy departure from the union, which could cause serious economic upset, May reportedly said.

She will then be out of the room when the other 27 leaders discuss her Brexit proposals over lunch, and will find out about their reactions only when summit chair Donald Tusk briefs her separately afterwards.

But the Democratic Unionist Party, which props up Mrs May's minority administration in Parliament, dismissed Mr Barnier's proposals as unpalatable because they would involve a customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Attention had been increasingly focused on the prospect of a special summit in November to finalise an agreement, however Mr Barnier said it should be clear before then whether a deal was actually possible.

Brussels and London have made positive noises in recent days on major obstacles, including how to keep an open border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland, though investors have shied away from taking big bets.

"What I'm not going to do is to say that I would refuse to entertain any further proposals that the EU comes up with but they've got to be respecting the equities that we've set out", he told correspondents from European newspapers including Germany's Die Welt, France's Le Monde and the Irish Times.


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