Border deal could slip away if June target not met: Taoiseach

Oliver Robbins permanent secretary of the Department for Exiting the European Union  Image Cabinet Office

A contentious issue in the Brexit debate, the customs union sets tariffs for all EU member states meaning goods can be moved from one country to another within the bloc without further taxes being imposed.

The European Commission has drawn up a "backstop" alternative option if neither proposal works, which would see Northern Ireland effectively remain in the customs union - something Mrs May has said no prime minister could accept.

Under the customs partnership plan, Britain would collect tariffs on the EU's behalf at ports and airports, passing on a share of the cash to Brussels.

Shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman urged the government to back Labour's plan for "a new comprehensive customs union with the EU".

May's insistence that the United Kingdom will leave the EU and not be part of a customs unions faces criticism.

Of all the invidious political dilemmas facing Theresa May over Brexit, Britain's future customs relationship with the European Union is now the most pressing and the most hard.

The statement comes ahead of a key meeting of senior ministers on Wednesday.

Conservative sources suggested Davis could be prepared to resign if the subcommittee throws its weight behind the prime minister's option.

Zidane reveals what he told his players ahead of Bayern game
The attitude was exemplary", he told a post-match press conference. We're going to give it all we've got to make it to the final.

Let me be clear: I think we could do a great deal more with new technology at our borders. Ministers opposed to a hard Brexit, including chancellor Philip Hammond and business secretary Greg Clark, spoke in favour of it. "It would leave us de facto in both the customs union and the single market". "So, there's a variety of mechanisms, but they don't require border infrastructure". Some argue that even a technological border is enough of a presence to contravene the Good Friday Agreement.

In a message to Mr Rees-Mogg and his Eurosceptic allies, Tory MP Vicky Ford told the Today programme: "We should not tie the hands of the Government at this stage of the negotiations" and "we should allow them to continue those negotiations without holding guns to their heads".

"Brexit is the most important decision facing the country for a generation and it's vital that parliament - not the government - decides whether or not any Brexit deal is acceptable", Newby said.

Last night the BBC reported that Mrs May had asked officials to draw up revised plans for post-Brexit customs arrangements.

The European Union 27 expect that the so-called "backstop" solution - Northern Ireland remaining in the EU customs union and large parts of the single market - be given full legal effect in the Withdrawal Agreement, the binding treaty that guides the United Kingdom out of the EU.

"We will look at the amendments, but the fundamental point is that the bill left the House of Commons in a way that could deliver a smooth Brexit and that is how we want the bill to complete its course", the spokesman said.

Downing Street would not commit to saying the prime minister was confident she would overturn all of the defeats in the Lords.

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