Brexit transition must be short, says minister

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab

"But at no stage has the prime minister ever reached out to parliament or sought to build a national consensus on our future relationship with the European Union".

"Serving our national interest will demand that we hold our nerve through these last stages of the negotiations, the hardest part of all".

Theresa May said on Monday that 95% of the Brexit withdrawal agreement setting out the legal terms of the UK's departure has now been settled.

Image caption Simon Coveney said: "There will be no withdrawal agreement without the backstop, end of story". May will say that the shape of the deal across "the vast majority" of its text is now clear.

In refusing to countenance a backstop that would keep just NI in the single market and customs union, or one that kept the whole United Kingdom in the customs union without defined termination date, or one that extended the UK's status in transition as a non-voting member of the EU till such time as a permanent solution to the border problem could be found (longer than a few months), Brexiter ministers are calculating that such resolve (or inflexibility, if you prefer) would be rewarded by a strengthening of the union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Mrs May is facing demands to appear before the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers on Wednesday to explain directly her negotiating strategy, but party chairman Brandon Lewis is now pencilled in to speak.

Prime Minister Theresa May will tell Britain's parliament on Monday (Oct 22) that Brexit negotiations are "95 per cent" complete but that she can not accept the European Union's Northern Ireland border proposals - as she faces down an increasingly mutinous faction within her own party.

Speaking to Sophy Ridge on her Sunday show, Mrs Braverman called for party unity as she warned the "biggest threat" facing the country was a "Jeremy Corbyn government".

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Brexit secretary Dominic Raab responded to the disgruntled MPs by saying "now is the time to play for the team".

European Union loyalists will focus their attention on a group of up to 50 Tory MPs, including five government ministers, they have identified as "reachable", with The Times reporting that some parliamentarians are "already in direct talks with the People's Vote about backing a second referendum and money has been made available, sometimes at the request of individual MPs, for constituency polling" on the issue.

However, immediately before May spoke another potential issue flared up as a series of Conservative MPs complained about limitations on how a Commons motion on a final Brexit deal could be amended.

There will be no Brexit deal without the border backstop, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has said.

Former Brexit secretary David Davis also piled on the pressure on May to attend this meeting and listen to the backbenchers' grievances. One told The Sunday Times that the prime minister had entered "the killing zone" this week, while another told The Mail on Sunday that she should "bring her own noose" if she went to the 1922 Committee meeting. Get a grip, Tories'.

Labour are also putting pressure on May, as Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer claims the current situation is a "mess of the prime minister's own making".

Fellow Brexiteer Tory Andrew Bridgen said the language was "unhelpful" and warned his fellow Brexiteers that it risked increasing sympathy and support for the Prime Minister. Under party rules May needs to win the support of just over half - 158 - to win a vote of no confidence, but many believe that she may not be able to continue as prime minister if more than 100 MPs were to vote against her.



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