May rejects pivot towards Brexit customs union compromise

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Mrs Leadsom, an ardent Leaver, said she would stay in the Cabinet to help Mrs May deliver Brexit and denied that the PM was softening her stance over a customs union in a letter to Mr Corbyn.

Liam Fox, the worldwide trade secretary, who signed the Swiss accord in Berne on Monday with a Swiss federal councillor, Guy Parmelin, said the deal was of "huge economic importance" to Britain and would benefit 15,000 United Kingdom exporters.

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson has indicated he would be willing to accept a time limit on the Brexit backstop as his price for backing Theresa May's EU Withdrawal Agreement. "That's what the Labour Party agreed and we agree unanimously and I think there is a good deal of support for that in the Labour Party". Mrs May will update MPs tomorrow.

Brexit minister Stephen Barclay will meet European Union negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday ahead of a crunch moment in parliament on Thursday, when lawmakers will try to force May to change course or give up control of the exit process.

The Prime Minister is expected to issue a rallying call for MPs to "hold our nerve" as her battle to secure a Brexit deal backed by Parliament reaches a crucial stage.

Mrs Leadsom said there was "no chance" Mrs May would adopt Mr Corbyn's "view of the world", adding: "The Prime Minister has been absolutely clear we're leaving the EU, we're leaving the customs union, we're leaving the single market".

"We would have to be able to get out by a certain time and we would have to be able to get out of our own volition".

But she said it also recognises the development of the UK's independent trade policy.

Two Palestinian teens killed by troop fire READ MORE
The militant Hamas group demands an end to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed on the territory since 2007. The violence sometimes escalated into brief rounds of cross-border exchanges of rockets and airstrikes.

DIT says that with the agreement the British auto industry, which has consistently warned against a no-deal Brexit, could avoid up to £8m a year in tariff charges on their exports that would apply if the agreement had not been reached.

His intervention came after Treasury Chief Secretary Liz Truss refused to rule out resigning if Mrs May backed a customs union.

Mr Johnson, who led the official Vote Leave campaign in the referendum, warned the Prime Minister against trying to do a deal with Labour to get her agreement through.

This is of huge economic importance to United Kingdom businesses so I'm delighted to be here in Bern today, ensuring continuity for 15,000 British exporters. Not only will this help to support jobs throughout the United Kingdom but it will also be a solid foundation for us to build an even stronger trading relationship with Switzerland as we leave the EU.

"I don't think that would be good enough", he said.

But she said the Government is prepared to commit to asking Parliament if it wishes to follow suit if standards change.

European Union Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Monday that the bloc would agree to tweak the political declaration on EU-UK ties after Brexit that forms part of the package to reflect a plan for a closer future relationship that could obviate the need for the contentious backstop.

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