Ireland insists on Brexit 'backstop' - PM Varadkar

British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker

British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker

Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron even had time for a post-prandial stroll on an unseasonably warm Brussels evening, before hopping in a vehicle to the Grand Place's Le Roy d'Espagne bar to join the prime ministers of Belgium and Luxembourg for a beer.

A spokesperson for Downing Street said a meeting was not possible.

- When would Britain leave under the proposals?

She is hemmed in by pro-Brexit members of her Conservative Party, who oppose any more compromises with the bloc, and by her parliamentary allies in Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, who insist a solution to the border issue can't include customs checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

One idea discussed at this week's European Council is to extend the transition period long enough for a free trade deal, which made border checks unnecessary, to be agreed and come into force.

The four parties have previously released joint statements expressing concerns about the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland.

"And by refusing to meet their representatives, Theresa May is also ignoring the democratic will of the majority in the north who voted to reject Brexit".

On Twitter, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said the prime minister's decision was "not surprising".

He added: "I certainly understand where they (DUP) are coming from".

A spokesperson for the Alliance Party said: "We are disappointed by the prime minister's refusal to engage with the remain parties collectively".

Tusk advised May that "creative" thinking from Britain was required to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, the issue that has brought divorce negotiations to a standstill.

Mrs May faced a Tory backlash after signalling she is ready to delay the UK's final departure from the EU's hold until 2021 in a last ditch bid to end the deadlock over the Irish border issue.

"The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland met all five main parties on Monday 8 October and will meet them again soon".

Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Hit the Beach in Melbourne!
And Prince Harry couldn't agree more, adding that he hopes Australian men will get involved in their feminist efforts. Van Dartel said the way Harry and Meghan interacted with all the children, including Luke, was lovely.

The official added that Mrs May continues to regard as "unacceptable" the EU backstop proposal for Northern Ireland alone to remain in the European customs area until the implementation of a new trade deal.

Helen McEntee was speaking after a meeting involving Mrs May and Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar.

Seeking to unblock the stalled divorce talks May said the initial 21-month transition could be extended by "a matter of months".

Mr Mundell told the BBC: "I haven't threatened to resign". "I'm convinced a deal is necessary, I'm still not sure we'll get one".

'If you have a negotiator who has no strong mandate, it's very hard to negotiate'.

By bowing to the European Union on this point, she risks a political fight domestically.

The return of violence to Northern Ireland is a potential effect if we get the Brexit talks wrong, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar stated.

European Union leaders have recently suggested that the transition period, now due to end in December 2020, could be extended by a year to provide more time for a trade deal to be forged that would make the backstop unnecessary.

"Unless she can give a date when we will leave the European Union and ALL its major institutions she cannot claim to have fulfilled the referendum vote", it said in an editorial.

"There is still the question of the Northern Irish backstop". As the Financial Times has reported, they've proposed that Northern Ireland stay in the regulatory regime of the European Union for goods, allowing a free flow north and south.

The support of 48 MPs - 15 percent of the parliamentary party - is needed to trigger a vote of confidence. Efforts to allay these objections, centred on fears of splitting the North from the rest of the United Kingdom, have run into trouble with the EU side who want to protect the single market and customs union.

As EU leaders gathered yet again in Brussels yesterday, they conceded that hopes of a deal are again being pushed back, this time perhaps until December.

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