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Surge in Irish businesses applying for post-Brexit UK access

Surge in Irish businesses applying for post-Brexit UK access

Theresa May is returning to Brussels to seek legal assurances on the Brexit backstop, amid signs she has persuaded key Tory eurosceptics to consider backing her Withdrawal Agreement.

Theresa May insisted she had made progress on the Brexit backstop last night amid signs that her deal could be put back before MPs next week.

Britain is due to leave the European Union on March 29 but diplomats say London effectively has less than a month to overcome the stalemate in negotiations and seal an agreement ahead of a regular summit of European Union national leaders on March 21-22.

Mrs May is expected to request legally-binding assurances that the backstop will not extend indefinitely.

It adds that it's conscious of the priority for businesses to minimise the costs associated with Brexit but that it's supporting them with information and guidance on preparing for trade with a non-EU country.

European Union sources aired frustration with Britain's stance on Brexit, saying Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay brought no new proposals to the table when he was last in Brussels on Monday for talks with the bloc's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.

"The Prime Minister has been very clear that we intend to leave on March 29, that's what Article 50 says and that's what our domestic legislation says", he said.

Senior diplomats said last night Brussels was likely to accept additions to the agreement but any changes would fall short of putting a time limit on the backstop or giving Britain a unilateral exit from it.

Mr Hammond told the MakeUK dinner in London that the proposals in the Malthouse plan - drawn up by MPs from the Leave and Remain wings of the party - represented a "valuable effort" at finding a way to keep the Irish border open after Brexit without a backstop.

"The EU 27 will not reopen the withdrawal agreement".

In their joint statement, May and Juncker said talks were "constructive" and their teams would press on to "explore the options in a positive spirit".

Both sides have said they want to avoid hard Brexit, and many experts foresee economic chaos, even warning of food and medicine shortages or a renewed threat of unrest in Northern Ireland.

If the U.K. Parliament does not agree on the deal before March 29, Britain risks a chaotic departure that could be costly to businesses and ordinary people on both sides of the Channel.

Despite that, few in Brussels expect a quick breakthrough: "It's too early", another European Union diplomat said.

But delaying Brexit would require the EU's approval - and if it is extended too far, it would force Britain to take part in the May 23-26 EU-wide election for the European Parliament. "We need more. preparations", Barroso, who now serves as a non-executive chairman at Goldman Sachs, told Sky News when asked when if he thought Brexit would happen as currently scheduled on March 29.

Jeremy Corbyn also announced he would be going to Brussels to meet the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, on Thursday.

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