Ministers in revolt over May’s Brexit concessions

The DUP led by Arlene Foster warned that Theresa May “may not be the leader to take us through Brexit”

But no less absurd than this appalling notion is the idea that the whole United Kingdom should, in effect, remain in the Single Market and Customs Union indefinitely to "solve" the alleged border problem.

"Such a customs union would eliminate an important part of customs checks".

Tory Brexiteers fear that she is about to concede to European Union demands that it must be open-ended, despite previous assurances from ministers it would have to be time-limited.

The BBC understands concerns centred around plans to ensure no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Under pressure from all sides, Theresa May told journalists at Downing Street reception that talks on the key issue of the Irish border were likely to continue until November, while cabinet ministers who met with May yesterday evening were cited by the Financial Times as saying the border issue was close to being settled.

"I am sure the Prime Minister is well aware of the grave responsibility which lies on her shoulders".

But the European Union is mounting resistance to any specific time limit being included in the text of the UK's Withdrawal Agreement, while Leave-backing ministers are understood to be insistent that the end of the arrangement should be more precisely defined than the vague term "temporary".

Some of May's ministers have urged her to put a time limit on that plan.

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Both sides have made positive signals in recent days though also indicated they were still short of a deal, which would define the divorce terms and include an European Union declaration stating that it would seek the closest possible ties with Britain after Brexit ranging from trade to security to research.

Downing Street also announced a further 29 no-deal notices would be published on Friday afternoon, setting out what businesses and consumers should do in the event of there being no agreement by 29 March 2019.

With the negotiations coming to a head, the central focus of the discussions is thought to have been the issue of the Northern Ireland "backstop" meant to ensure there is not return of a "hard border" with the Republic.

The document stated that the UK Government "expects" this arrangement to remain in place no later than the end of December 2021.

On Thursday morning, Mrs May's official spokesman told journalists that "big issues" still remained to be resolved between the United Kingdom and Brussels, which included the backstop and issues such as geographic indicators for goods.

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".

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt and the Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom - who, like Ms McVey, both backed Leave in the referendum in 2016 - were also said to harbour deep concerns.

He said: "She has declared herself to be a unionist, she has repeated that time and time again, she knows the consequences if she walks away from that promise, not just for Northern Ireland because of course she will open a Pandora's box in Scotland as well".

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