Theresa May 'facing more resignations over her Brexit deal'

Ireland's Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

The PM has secured "private concessions" from Brussels that the whole of the United Kingdom will be allowed to remain in a customs union with the EU after Brexit occurs in March, according to The Sunday Times' political editor Tim Shipman.

Following this statement, Mrs May called the Taoiseach and offered to add a "review mechanism", a compromise he said he was considering.

After meeting Friday with Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney in Dublin, British Prime Minister Theresa May's deputy David Lidington said negotiators were "very close" to an agreement.

The latest proposal on the backstop, according to sources in Brussels, would keep all of the United Kingdom in a customs arrangement with the European Union, as May has sought.

The Irish border has proved the biggest obstacle to a deal, with both sides vowing not to reinstate a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland for fear of destabilizing a peace accord that ended decades of deadly sectarian violence.

Under the concessions, the European Union is said to have accepted that regulatory checks on goods be allowed to take place "in market" - effectively meaning that checks can be done in places like factories, rather than at the border between the two countries.

In a major intervention on the controversial backstop, amid reports that the government plans to keep Northern Ireland in aspects of the European Union trade structures, Mr Davis said it was "pretty clear there is genuine and significant concern regarding the implications of any fresh backstop text".

But this has been rejected by London, as it would see customs checks take place between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

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The leader of the Best for Britain campaign for a second referendum, Eloise Todd, said: "When the history of Brexit is written in a few years' time the backstop and the UK's decisions around it will be held up as an example of how not to negotiate".

The plan also means that May is now in a position to issue an ultimatum to Brexiteer rebels within her party, the Sunday Times said.

Theresa May will be able to persuade her Cabinet to support her preferred Brexit deal - but only after more of her ministers resign, according to a government source.

Reports at the weekend that Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has privately demanded the right to pull Britain out of the EU's proposed Irish backstop after just three months had been criticised by the Irish government.

"This is all speculation".

"We are making good progress on the future relationship, and 95% of the Withdrawal Agreement has been settled".

In other developments on Brexit yesterday, the former Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire said that negotiations were ongoing, amid reports that major concessions had been made by Brussels.

You can read the Sunday Times' full story here.

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