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Trade barriers 'unavoidable' for United Kingdom after Brexit: Barnier

Trade barriers 'unavoidable' for United Kingdom after Brexit: Barnier

Mrs May has repeatedly said that Britain will leave the customs union, but a number of ministers in her government had suggested Britain could remain in some sort of bespoke customs arrangement with the EU after Brexit.

Barnier will also meet the UK's Brexit minister David Davis ahead of talks between British and European Union officials in Brussels from Tuesday to Friday.

Mr Barnier said he would "respect the red lines" set out by Mrs May, but the United Kingdom must also "respect the rules of the union".

The EU says its rules should still apply during the transition period, as will rulings of the European Court of Justice. If May decides to operate as per existing rules in the customs union, Irish border problem will not occur after Brexit.

Downing Street said it had wanted to "put to rest" the debate which has raged for weeks, amid mounting pressure from Tory backbenchers for the Prime Minister to clarify her Government's position.

But Trade Secretary Liam Fox told Bloomberg: "It is very hard to see how being in a customs union is compatible with having an independent trade policy because we would therefore be dependent on what the EU negotiated in terms of its trading policies and we'd be following behind that".

In relation to alignment, Mr Barnier said the European Union is "working with British authorities on the content of that sentence". This appears incompatible with the aim of leaving the EUCU and avoiding any kind of customs union with the EU.

Rudd herself said Britain is likely to end up with "something within the customs framework", but she would not be "drawn into this whole "a" or the "the" customs union".

He met May at Downing Street before his official talks with Davis, following which he told reporters that the two sides had agreed to move on to the next phase of Brexit negotiations.

She told the BBC: "We published a document previous year and we proposed either a customs arrangement or a customs partnership".

According to "The Sunday Times", UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson has been approached to lead a coup by creating a team of so-called "Three Brexiteers" - with him as Prime Minister, environment secretary Michael Gove as his deputy and Rees-Mogg as Chancellor. "That is the deal we are looking for", she said.

May will hold two cabinet meetings on Wednesday and Thursday at which she will try to heal the deep divisions among her ministers over the best way to leave the EU. "It's not a matter of scaremongering to get negotiating advantage", he said.

Barnier's warning comes after May dismissed any possibility of remaining in the customs union following the transition period, in a move which has been hailed as a significant victory for Brexiteers.

Bailey added: "So, it turns out that it can be done, and moreover there is an extant proposal from the EU which could be a good starting point for UK-EU mutual recognition". People will be free to live and work here. It's not clear the prime minister will survive the crossfire.

The chairman of the Commons Exiting the EU Committee, Hilary Benn, said further detail was still needed from ministers if the terms of a future deal with Brussels are to be agreed by October as hoped.


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