UK PM to propose changes to Chequers plan as talks reach impasse

UK PM to propose changes to Chequers plan as talks reach impasse

UK Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to address parliament with revisions to her Chequers Brexit proposal. The speech comes

An anti-Brexit placard is fixed to traffic barriers opposite the Houses of Parliament in London

Photo: Reuters/Simon Dawson

UK Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to address parliament with revisions to her Chequers Brexit proposal. The speech comes as talks face a crisis point in Brussels.

The two sides remain unable to agree on the issue that has bedevilled negotiators for months—preventing a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. May currently proposes keeping the entire UK in the customs union temporarily; Brussels proposes only Northern Ireland staying.

If May accedes to the EU stance, she could lose support not only from the unionist Northern Irish MPs that prop up her government, but also face cabinet resignations from Scottish Conservatives who reject internal UK divisions. However, Brexit hardliners see UK-wide customs union membership as a betrayal, with ex-Brexit Secretary David Davis calling for a cabinet rebellion against May over it.

With Ireland creating friction at home and abroad, a failure to reach agreement this month would signal a high likelihood of Britain withdrawing without a deal, leading to great economic uncertainty. Even if a deal is reached, May will almost certainly need opposition votes for it to pass parliament.

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