Brexit transition period could last for years, cabinet warned

Brexit transition period could last for years, cabinet warned

"There are some limited circumstances in which it could be argued that an extension to the implementation period might be preferable if we were certain it was only for a short time", May told legislators in London.

SDLP assembly member Claire Hanna has called for a second referendum saying the "best and fairest and most plausible way out of this is a people's vote".

His remarks are likely to infuriate Brussels and the Irish Republic, who have both insisted that a backstop - essentially an insurance policy created to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit - must be part of any withdrawal agreement.

"While we agree that it would be in both sides' interest to avoid the worst disruption in the event of an exit without a withdrawal agreement, we note that the Exiting the EU Committee has questioned the government's approach of expecting there to be sufficient time and political goodwill to negotiate bilateral contingency measures", said the Scrutiny Committee report. But she warned "we can not accept any proposal that threatens the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom".

"As I set out last week, the original backstop proposal from the European Union was one we could not accept, as it would mean creating a customs border down the Irish Sea and breaking up the integrity of the United Kingdom".

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With the Brexit clock ticking, fears are growing that Britain could crash out of the bloc without an agreement, an outcome that could create chaos at the borders and in both the European Union and British economies.

According to BBC, May said that she may consider extending the UK's transition period beyond 2020, but she said that this was "undesirable", and that the entire saga should end "well before" 2022.

The issue of the border between Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom, and Ireland, an European Union member, remains a major stumbling block in negotiations over Britain's withdrawal from the bloc.

May has proposed that the whole of the United Kingdom should remain in the EU customs union.

It follows warnings from Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Secretary David Mundell on potential compromises relating to the Irish backstop, particularly the suggestion that the post-Brexit transition phase could be extended to act as a "bridge" to the future trading relationship.

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But, EU sources tell Reuters, negotiations this month saw the EU offer to strengthen that idea in the withdrawal treaty itself, bending an EU "red line" about pre-empting trade talks as part of an overall package deal to break the deadlock.

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey and Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom complained about the lack of an end-date in the current plans for a temporary customs plan. Her Belfast allies have threatened to vote down her budget next week and there is talk of a party leadership challenge. "And I am more determined than ever that we will get there together, with a Brexit deal that's right for you, right for your family and right for our country".

Baba added that May is expected to hold a cabinet session on Tuesday, before possibly meeting backbenchers a day later.

The Times has obtained a leaked version of Theresa May's Brexit plan that could leave the United Kingdom in limbo for years.

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