May has EU concessions to keep UK in customs union

LONDON • Theresa May (picture) has secured concessions from Brussels that will allow her to keep all of Britain in a customs union with the European Union (EU) and avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland, the Times reported, without citing sources.

The move could win over some Opposition Labour MPs and increase the chances of getting such an agreement through the House of Commons.

Under the banner headline “May’s Secret Brexit Deal”, the newspaper said she’s also on course to secure an agreement on a “future economic partnership” that will allow Britain to keep open the prospect of a similar free trade accord to the one Canada has with the EU. That in turn could sway the eurosceptic wing of her Conservative Party.

According to the Telegraph, May has included Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, the government’s chief legal advisor, in her special Brexit Cabinet after ministers said they wouldn’t sign off on a deal without his advice.

But some of Britain’s biggest corporate names have had enough of the government’s handling of the negotiations.

More than 70 business leaders — from founder Martha Lane Fox and former J Sainsbury plc CEO Justin King to Cobra Beer founder Karan Bilimoria and ex-chairman of Rolls-Royce Holdings plc Simon Robertson — signed a letter arguing that both the government’s current plans for Brexit, and a no-deal Brexit, would be bad for companies and jobs. — Bloomberg