European Union 'annihilates' Theresa May's plan to avoid hard Irish border

Theresa May has claimed that she is in favour of a frictionless border. Pic AP

Some of the court plaintiffs and their lawyer, as well as pro-EU groups "British in Europe" and "the3million" were due to appear to "discuss the possible consequences of Brexit for citizens, business, government departments, and civil society", a parliamentary notice said. It was a point that seemed to resonate with many Brexiteer MPs who have long argued that remaining in the Customs Union would prevent the United Kingdom from striking new trade deals with non-EU countries around the world.

"We need full guarantees in the light of the Windrush scandal", he said, adding that the parliament would discuss the matter with the British interior ministry next week.

If UK tries to cherry-pick European Union benefits, Brussels will say 'no way, ' European Union negotiator warns.

It was made clear that none of the UK's customs options will work.

The UK is strongly resisting this, as it believes this will effectively see Northern Ireland remain in the EU's customs union, which Theresa May is committed to leaving.

But government sources did express exasperation at what they regard as the intransigence of the EU27.

Mrs May's second proposal for a "highly streamlined customs arrangement" based on a trusted trader scheme and technological solutions, which included "specific provisions for Northern Ireland", was also rejected.

While talks will continue over the next three weeks to try to achieve a breakthrough, there are fears that the Irish border question could, once again, prove a roadblock in wider Brexit negotiations when European Union leaders meet again in June.

Lord Macpherson, the former top official at the Treasury, said the EU's position was "predictable" because of the backstop solution in the Withdrawal Agreement.

The UK Government will be forced to go back to the drawing board despite undertaking five rounds of technical negotiations with the European Union so far. "The day after, you necessarily have to grasp with reality".

The majority of 123 in the customs union vote - double what was expected - was a harbinger of further defeats for the Government in the coming days, as they face a highly organised cross-party opposition in the House of Lords.

Peers backed the amendment by 348 votes to 225 with 24 Conservatives, including former deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine, rebelling against the Government.

The British MEP said the European Union would try to use the Irish border issue that came up during Brexit talks to keep Britain inside the bloc's customs union.

"Those Lords with their privileged lifestyles, I don't think they really understand the impact this protectionism is having on the costs of these things". In the specific case of Northern Ireland, it would have allowed traders to operate across the border without any checks.

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