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Ministers in revolt over May’s Brexit concessions

Ministers in revolt over May’s Brexit concessions”

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is the other big issue for the prime minister, who relies on the Northern Irish party's votes to give her a notional majority in parliament.

It was reported, however, that a number of ministers, including Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, Environment Secretary Michael Gove and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, raised concerns during a meeting lasting around an hour and a half.

Labour demands that Britain retain "the exact same" perks it now has within the EU's customs union and single market - something May's so-called Chequers plan does not meet and which the EU rules out since London made a decision to leave both.

However, they repeatedly refused to say if there would be a time limit, meaning the Cabinet and MPs could be asked to agree to Mrs May's Brexit plan without a guarantee of when the United Kingdom will take back control of trade.

The government, which has warned of a no-deal Brexit, published more than 25 technical notices covering issues from consumer rights and sanctions policy to rail transport and taking horses overseas.

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Earlier on Thursday, May told Northern Ireland journalists that Irish border talks would likely continue until November.

He told the BBC's Political Thinking podcast: "Their behaviour was pretty intolerable, but not almost as intolerable as the way the present prime minister is being treated".

"I am sure the Prime Minister is well aware of the grave responsibility which lies on her shoulders".

Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK's former ambassador to the European Union, dismissed both options in a speech in Cambridge, saying the chances of the EU agreeing to either was "precisely zero" and that there had been "culpable naivety" in the negotiations.

British papers said at least two or three ministers could quit over May's concessions on terms for keeping the Irish border open after Britain leaves the European Union on March 29.

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The Prime Minister reportedly asked senior ministers in her "Brexit war cabinet" on Thursday to agree to a proposal to keep Britain inside a customs union with the EU, if she fails to agree any alternative arrangements before the end of the two year Brexit transition period.

The EU's Barnier says Britain must accept possible checks on goods moving between its main island and its province of Northern Ireland.

In what was interpreted as a warning shot, DUP MPs failed to back the government on a vote on an agriculture bill late on Wednesday, although it still won.

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, proposed the move, which would also buy Mrs May more time to strike a trade deal with Brussels.

"Many of her cabinet colleagues have assured me of their unionism", she said.

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