Britain would lose EU rebate even if it decided to ditch Brexit

Boris Johnson says 'now is the time to chuck Chequers'

British Prime Minister Theresa May briefed her inner cabinet on Thursday evening that a historic Brexit deal was close, the Financial Times reported Thursday.

According to the BBC, Brexiteers were particularly concerned over the fact that Britain could be tied to the bloc's mechanisms indefinitely, which would become an obstacle to the country's independent trade deals elsewhere once it leaves the EU.

Ireland's deputy prime minister has warned the United Kingdom government his country "can't accept a time limit" on a Brexit backstop agreement aimed at preventing a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Agreeing on how to maintain an open Irish border after Brexit is the key hurdle now to sealing a divorce deal between the European Union and Britain.

While the United Kingdom will effectively stay in the single market and customs union during the transition period up to December 2020, Brexiteers fear the new proposal would keep the United Kingdom in the customs union for years thereafter until a full trade deal could be agreed with the EU27.

Earlier Brexiteer Cabinet minister Esther McVey pointedly refused to endorse Mrs May's Chequers blueprint for Brexit, although she insisted the Prime Minister had her full support.

The DUP is propping up Mrs May's minority government and on Wednesday they threatened to vote down the budget and move to topple the government if the Prime Minister breaches their Brexit "red lines".

Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK's former ambassador to the European Union, dismissed both options in a speech in Cambridge, saying the chances of the EU agreeing to either was "precisely zero" and that there had been "culpable naivety" in the negotiations.

While London wants to regulate that by a future trade deal with the European Union, the bloc insists on an emergency fix in case negotiating new relations takes longer, or fails.

"Trade from Great Britain into Northern Ireland would be in danger of restriction".

The EU says there needs to be major progress at a summit in Brussels next week if the two sides are to strike a divorce deal before Brexit day.

The Northern Ireland "backstop" has emerged as the main stumbling block in the Brexit negotiations.

He added: "We are simply reminding her, you are being torn at the moment between what we believe are your gut instincts and your sound principles on the union and at the same time the bullying, threatening behaviour of the EU".

Finance minister Philip Hammond said there had been a "measurable change in pace" in talks in the last 10 days, but there were "some big differences left to resolve".

"I would advise them to hold firm against Brexit because either of these choices are unpalatable", he said at an event in London hosted by Reuters.

And the BBC understands another senior minister, Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, was "thinking carefully about whether she could put up with such a compromise".

Some pro-Brexit cabinet ministers reluctantly signed up to the Prime Minister's Chequers Brexit plan and did not expect her to make so many further concessions to the bloc.

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