NEW YORK • Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK must not agree to extend the Brexit transition period unless the European Union (EU) drops its demand for a fallback to protect Northern Ireland from having a hard border, the Telegraph reported.
The option floated by Theresa May that the country should remain tied to EU beyond December 2020 would only be an “alternative to the insurance plan insisted by Brussels”, he said. The Telegraph, often a mouthpiece for the right wing of the Conservative Party, said Raab’s comments would be welcomed by pro-Brexit MPs.
Bloomberg reported late last week that May is said to be ready to ditch one of her key Brexit demands to resolve the vexed issue of the Irish border and clear the path to a deal.
Her fix could result in Britain being tied indefinitely to the EU’s customs rules.
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, acknowledged in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche that the Irish border is the toughest issue of the Brext talks, but added that it’s up to the UK to come up with a reasonable solution.
Raab’s comments were published hours after hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of west London to protest against the Brexit vote and the government’s subsequent handling of it. The march was called by People’s Vote, a group that’s campaigning for the public to have a say on any final Brexit deal, so that the government can’t force it through Parliament.