Has Theresa May secured a breakthrough to seal a Brexit deal?

Senator Neale Richmond who chairs the Seanad’s Brexit Committee clashed with Tory MP Owen Paterson

Senator Neale Richmond who chairs the Seanad’s Brexit Committee clashed with Tory MP Owen Paterson

A spokesperson said: 'The prime minister has been clear that we are making good progress on the future relationship and 95 percent of the withdrawal agreement is now settled and negotiations are ongoing'.

But only providing "that it was clear that the outcome of any such review could not involve a unilateral decision to end the backstop".

Asked about the report, a spokesman at May's office said: "This is all speculation".

Ireland and the European Union will "never" accept a time-limited Brexit backstop, the United Kingdom has been told.

"Obviously still having this issue in relation to the insurance arrangements for Northern Ireland and Ireland, and that very much remains our focus and attention in getting that deal".

The report claims an "all-UK customs deal" will be written into the legally binding withdrawal agreement, which would do away with the need for the controversial "backstop" arrangement agreed by the United Kingdom last December, which would see Northern Ireland remain in full alignment with the EU's single market and customs union rules in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

In practice, the backstop will only take effect if trade talks between the United Kingdom and European Union fail to produce a deal deep and comprehensive enough to avoid any checks on the Irish border.

While European Council President Donald Tusk said in September that an extraordinary summit would be called for November 17-18 to finalize and formalize the EU-UK arrangement if sufficient progress in talks was reached, the EU leaders are now not planning this extraordinary summit.

Khachanov stuns Djokovic in Paris final, deprives him of record-matching win
Djokovic is on a 22-match winning streak and will aim to move level with Rafael Nadal on a record 33 Masters titles. Coming into the week, Khachanov had a 3-16 record against players ranked in the world Top 10.

Turkey exempt from U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil
The waivers are only temporary, and the US will expect countries to keep cutting Iranian imports in the months ahead, it added. Later, a senior State Department official told reporters that that the USA was ready for talks with Iran.

Man-eater tigress Avni, believed to be behind 13 deaths, killed in Maharashtra
She said she will be taking up the matter "very strongly" with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis . Animal rights activists have also expressed concern over Avni's being shot and not tranquilised.

Mrs May's cabinet are set to meet on Tuesday to discuss her plan, in the hope that enough progress would be made by Friday for bloc chiefs to announce a special summit, it has been claimed.

Even if a deal is done in Brussels in the coming days, May will have to sell it in London - first to her own Cabinet, and then to Parliament.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab sparked fury in Dublin and Brussels after it emerged he had outlined the details of the breakaway clause during a meeting with Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney last week. "These ideas are not backstops at all + don't deliver on previous United Kingdom commitments".

It has been reported that Theresa May is close to striking a backstop deal with Brussels which would keep the entire United Kingdom in a customs union.

The EU has proposed a backstop that would mean Northern Ireland staying in the EU customs union, large parts of the single market and the EU VAT system.

"Theresa May came from "not in a customs union" to being temporarily in a customs union".

But the customs deal created would be "a customs union" - a bespoke option created specifically for Brexit - rather than "the customs union", or continued membership of the structure that already exists.

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