Brexit: No 10 still 'confident' of Irish border solution

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The "Irish question" of how Britain can balance an open Irish border while pulling Northern Ireland from the customs union and single market increasingly appears to be the one issue which could bring the Brexit process screeching to a halt.

Prime Minister may possibly had previously said following Brexit takes result, Britain is not going to remain from the customs union.

Michel Barnier said on Friday that a quarter of the work needed to complete preparations for the United Kingdom to leave the the bloc next March remains to be done, as sources say little progress was made in three weeks of talks to break the deadlock on the vexed Irish question.

The UK's longstanding alternatives to the backstop - a customs partnership that would see the UK and the European Union collect tariffs on each other's behalves, and the use of technology to avoid customs checks - were again completely rejected by European Union negotiators, according to two of the people.

Downing Street said it did not recognise reports it had been told none of its proposed ideas would work.

Northern Ireland's fishing industry is looking forward to gaining access to more fish and new markets after Brexit, but is anxious about its implications for labor supply and frictionless trade, parliament members have heard, reports Irish Times. Peers rejected a proposal to withdraw Britain from a customs union with the European Union after Brexit without a proper debate in Parliament.

MPs are pushing for a vote in the Commons next week on remaining in some form of customs union after the government was defeated on the issue in the Lords on Wednesday.

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Mrs May had previously set out the UK's customs policy in a speech last month.

"As the PM's letter to Donald Tusk said, we have made our position on aspects of the draft Commission Protocol clear".

"We have agreed that the areas covered in the draft must reflect those that meet our shared commitments".

May's plan included three options for the Irish border, with Britain backing a close economic relationship that avoids customs checks or a technological solutions that would make the border near-frictionless.

"We're confident we can continue". That, candidly, from everything I've heard from various places is still viewed as a bit of a fantasy island unicorn model.

"Still we need more time to clarify, it is the British obligation to clarify the logistic and legal details, but today I can say our interpretation of the so-called December agreement is nearly identical compared to the British position".