France tells Theresa May to FORGET backstop review clause – EU will DECIDE

French Minister for European Affairs Nathalie Loiseau | Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

Andrea Leadsom, the Commons leader, has warned the Prime Minister that MPs would not support any deal that would keep Britain locked in a backstop arrangement with Brussels.

She told BBC Radio 5 Live the UK “cannot be held against its will” in a possible customs union with the EU, adding: “It cannot be a decision that can be overturned by the European Union, it must be capable for the United Kingdom to decide to leave that customs arrangement.”

|AIWA! NO|French Europe minister Nathalie Loiseau said any decision taken to end the backstop arrangement cannot be made by the United Kingdom alone and must involve the remaining 27 European Union countries.
Brexiteers in Mrs May’s Cabinet have demanded the inclusion of the mechanism that would unilaterally trigger a UK exit from any customs union arrangement in the backstop, the insurance policy to prevent a hard border in Ireland.

EU negotiators rejected this and reportedly told their UK counterparts that the European Court of Justice would have to be involved in the arbitration of any potential mechanism.

Ahead of the meeting, Ms Loiseau rejected the possibility of an independent mechanism being included in the backstop to help the Prime Minister with her domestic negotiations.

The French Europe minister told reporters: “If we end any sort of temporary arrangement this is to be bilateral decision from the EU27 and from the UK at the same time and we have to know in that moment what sort of solution there is for the Irish border.”

Technical-level negotiations will continue between the British and EU teams as they move “closer and closer” to seal a Brexit deal, according to one EU diplomat.

A technical deal is once again within days of conclusion but Mrs May is struggling to win political backing from her Cabinet as further splits emerge in her Conservative Party.

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