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Britain agrees to set EU 'Exit Day' in law
13 November 2017, 01:51 | Austin Hogan
Britain agrees to set EU 'Exit Day' in law
But he also furiously rejected suggestions from Brussels that Northern Ireland could stay in the single market after Brexit - effectively splitting the UK.
It concluded that Britain must ensure "no emergence of regulatory divergence" from the rules of the EU single market and the customs union which are "necessary for north-south co-operation, the all-island economy and the protection of the Good Friday Agreement".
The gambit also comes just days after James Brokenshire, the UK's Northern Ireland secretary, travelled to Brussels to meet Michel Barnier, the European Union chief negotiator, and a host of MEPs and other top officials.
The EU is saying it will not continue trade talks or a possible transition deal before the United Kingdom makes sufficient progress on the issues of Britain's exit bill, Ireland's border and EU citizens' rights.
By deciding to no longer to seek membership of the single market and the customs union, Theresa May has already ruled out the softest versions of Brexit - such as the so-called Norway option which even some Leave supporters wanted.
Ireland has consistently argued that the United Kingdom remaining in the customs union would be the easiest way to avoid a new border.
Now, there are most likely three broad possible outcomes of the negotiations.
The paper which was originally reported in The Financial Times, notes that "an important part of political, economic, security, societal and agricultural activity on the island of Ireland now operates on a cross-border basis, underpinned by joined European Union membership of the European Union and Ireland".
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"Only sufficient progress - that is to say honest and real progress - on the three main key issues of these negotiations will enable the triggering of the second phase of our negotiation", he said.
"But we need to see flexibility, imagination and willingness to make progress on both sides if these negotiations are to succeed and we are able to realise our new deep and special partnership". "We have consistently taxes and funding and enterprise and entrepreneurs and customs and borders but really children are the [.] people who are going to be living in this new reality in the future and we really need to take their voices and their rights seriously", he said.
"That doesn't mean that they have to be members of it, but it would mean continuing to apply the rules of the single market and the customs union".
"We've listened to members of the public and Parliament and have made this change to remove any confusion or concern about what "exit day" means", Brexit minister David Davis said in a statement.
A senior Government source said the British should not feel blindsided.
A summit in December is the target both sides are aiming for to get a deal on the divorce, so that talks can move on to the future trade relationship.
Mr Brokenshire said he found it "difficult to imagine how Northern Ireland could somehow remain "in" while the rest of the country leaves".
However, a decision has to be taken during an European Union summit on December 14 and 15 on whether enough progress has been made on this issue, and on citizens' rights and the Irish border. The EU is suggesting to London that the current Border fudge is not enough.
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