Britain's May in Northern Ireland to push her Brexit vision

Theresa May claimed the EU's 'backstop' proposal breached the Good Friday Agreement

Theresa May claimed the EU's 'backstop' proposal breached the Good Friday Agreement

Dominic Raab, who replaced David Davis after he quit the role earlier this month in protest over the government's Brexit strategy, said "some conditionality between the two" was needed.

The issue had yet to be formally discussed among those involved in the EU-UK negotiations, but informal discussions suggest there is limited appetite for such a development, sources in Brussels added.

She said it was a very firm and challenging meeting in which she told Mrs May that Ireland "cannot and will not be the collateral damage of the Tory Brexit".

However, the 20% left is challenging to say the least - covering flashpoints like data protection, United Kingdom military bases in Cyprus and who should police the withdrawal agreement and subsequent nearly two-year transition period. "If she wants to give up, she should just say so".

Mrs May said people living along the border remembered the customs border posts and security installations, and "disruption caused to lives and livelihoods".

She said she re-iterated in the meeting this morning that the Irish border requires a bespoke solution and needs "an absolutely worse case contingency plan" - i.e. the backstop agreement.

After the Irish Times sought clarification on where exactly Mrs May would be visiting during her two-day trip to the North, a 10 Downing Street spokesperson provided a response which many have claimed sums up Westminster's attitude towards Northern Ireland.

European Union officials and diplomats have told the Guardian it would instead require a fundamental shift in British politics for there to be any value for the European Union in an extension of the UK's membership.

But in remarks that hinted at the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, Barnier warned: "Time is moving on swiftly and we don't have much of that left". He said Ireland will play an active role in supporting the European Union taskforce in its work.

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The Fund's report said a "soft" Brexit scenario - with the United Kingdom out of the customs union but retaining access to the single market and agreeing to abide by EU rules - 'would imply nearly zero cost for the EU as a whole'.

'Tthe UK will no longer be a member state after withdrawal and will no longer enjoy the same benefits as a member, ' the commission said.

However, during her visit to Belfast, Mrs May will reiterate that a hard border is not acceptable.

In a speech to politicians and business leaders in Belfast's docklands, May accepted a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic once Britain leaves the bloc would be "almost inconceivable", but dismissed the EU's current plan as "unworkable".

The Prime Minister also said she regretted that Northern Ireland had been without an Executive for 18 months and she called for a fresh round of talks to restore power-sharing.

Mr Donohoe also said he believes that Mrs May's commitment to an open border is genuine and honest.

It is "now for the European Union to respond".

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier then has another message he's hell-bent on delivering.

"We have proposed one solution but at no point was it our intention to create a border in the Irish sea", Barnier said.

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