United Kingdom trade secretary says European Union 'irresponsible' to refuse to reopen #Brexit deal

The reality of the fallout from Britain's decision to leave the EU has only in recent times come into sharp focus for most of

Briefing notes from Downing Street suggest Theresa May with state this afternoon that she wants to deliver a Brexit that honours the British government's commitment to Northern Ireland and that will command broad support across the community.

"There are definitely options for preserving the integrity of the single market even when Northern Ireland isn't part of it because it is part of Britain while at the same time meeting the desire to have, if possible, no border controls", Merkel said.

UK MPs last week backed a call for May to return to Brussels to secure a new Brexit deal that puts "alternative arrangements" in place of the controversial backstop - a kind of insurance policy created to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

Keen to avoid the economic disruption a no-deal Brexit would bring to Germany's economy, which slowed sharply a year ago, Merkel also values Britain as a like-minded partner and wants to keep its security expertise close at hand.

An "Alternative Arrangements Working Group", including Leave and Remain Conservative MPs, will start three days of talks on Monday on alternative arrangements to the Irish backstop.

Mr Barnier said the European Union was "ready to work on alternative solutions during transition", restating Brussels' position the backstop had to remain in place unless and until a replacement could be agreed.

May is now seeking to renegotiate her deal, particularly its contentious "backstop" provision to keep the Irish border free-flowing, in a bid to secure parliament's support.

The Brexiteer insists there is no chance of Article 50 being delayed despite reports some Cabinet colleagues have been calling for an extension.

Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Conservative lawmaker and keen supporter of Brexit, told the Mail on Sunday that he believed the plans showed unnecessary panic by officials over a no-deal Brexit, as senior royals had remained in London during World War II bombing.

ERG deputy chairman Steve Baker, former Northern Ireland secretary Owen Paterson and Yeovil MP Marcus Fysh will join forces with former education secretary Nicky Morgan and ex-cabinet office minister Damian Green to examine the feasibility of the so-called Malthouse Compromise.

The first meeting of the Alternative Arrangements Working Group on Monday was described as "detailed and constructive" by the Brexit department.

But Brussels has restated its opposition to any attempt to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement, insisting the backstop was the "only operational solution" to the border question.

Selmayr also denied MPs' claims that his comments amounted to an offer of a legal adjunct to the withdrawal agreement.

"When I return to Brussels I will be battling for Britain and Northern Ireland, I will be armed with a fresh mandate, new ideas and a renewed determination to agree a pragmatic solution".

And in response to reports he had told the Brexit committee the European Union would be ready to consider legally binding assurances, Mr Selmayr tweeted: "On the European Union side, nobody is considering this".

However, European Union leaders have continued to rule out making changes to the withdrawal deal as agreed.

Mr Rutte said: "The Withdrawal Agreement remains the only way to ensure an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union".

"The EU will not renegotiate the withdrawal agreement and there will be no withdrawal agreement without the backstop", he said, adding that there is a deal on the table, and walking away from it will have serious consequences for us all".

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