Brexit: PM's compromises a 'concern' for cabinet ministers

Dutch PM 'cautiously optimistic' about progress on Brexit talks

The Prime Minister reportedly asked senior ministers in her "Brexit war cabinet" on Thursday to agree to a proposal to keep Britain inside a customs union with the EU, if she fails to agree any alternative arrangements before the end of the two year Brexit transition period.

The revolt from May's coalition allies from Northern Ireland's small Democratic Unionist Party revolved around a separate idea it feels would threaten the integrity of the UK.

"What we can not do is see the United Kingdom locked in via the backdoor to a customs union arrangement which would leave us in an indefinite limbo - that would not be leaving the EU", he said on Friday.

Sky News understands work to prepare for such a scenario is already under way, while Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has said he is confident Britain would be able to negotiate such agreements with the likes of France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Günther Oettinger, the German European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, also claimed a Brexit deal was much closer after reports suggested the UK's Prime Minister is ready to give the EU massive new concessions.

Numerous problems are now being solved on a step by step basis "but there are, of course" several big issues which we really need to get to grips with, ' the prime minister said.

Britain warned on Friday that leaving the European Union without a deal would mean drugmakers needing to stockpile experimental treatments in case of border delays.

Leading Conservative Brexiteer Steve Baker responded that any backstop which went beyond a simple free trade agreement amounted to "effectively committing the United Kingdom to membership of the single market and customs union".

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Meanwhile, Chancellor Philip Hammond became the first senior Government figure to suggest that the backstop - created to keep the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic open in the case that no broader EU/UK trade deal is finalised - will "probably" have to come into effect for a period.

May hopes British negotiators can strike a deal over the weekend, which she can discuss with the cabinet on Tuesday.

He said: "The DUP represents a minority of people in Northern Ireland".

"The prime minister is doing an exceptional job and everybody is behind her", he told reporters.

He told BBC's Newsnight: 'Political resignations are part of the landscape'.

A Number 10 source said that the Government's position had not changed and "big issues" had yet to be ironed out.

The Blue Wave is targeting a "Dirty Dozen" of Conservatives, including an "an epic constituency-wide maildrop in Folkestone" - the seat of Damian Collins, the chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee who has clashed with Mr Banks.

Mr Collins said: 'He can send as many letters as he likes, I won't stop doing my job'. 'There would appear to be progress, but sometimes the devil is in the details, ' she said.



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