Theresa May to tell EU she will not sign Brexit deal that could break up the UK
Theresa May is set to tell Brussels she will not sign up to a Brexit deal that could split the UK apart, it has been reported.
The Prime Minister will warn Brussels that a system of customs checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK would be unacceptable.
A proposal for Northern Ireland to effectively remain in a customs union with the EU in order to avoid the need for a hard border with the Republic of Ireland is set to be published by the EU today in a new draft withdrawal agreement.
It is expected to demand that the Prime Minister agree to legal commitments preventing a hard border in the county - even if that could mean effectively placing a border in the Irish Sea.
The draft EU text is also expected to say that the European Court of Justice must have the power to “interpret and enforce” the withdrawal agreement in the face of UK objections.
But Number 10 sources told The Times the demands would be rejected in a move that could put a Brexit transition agreement next month in jeopardy.
“We are fully committed to implementing the December agreement but the EU should be absolutely clear that the Prime Minister is not going to sign up to anything that threatens the constitutional integrity of the UK or its common market,” a senior government source told the paper.
“Nor are we going to accept the ECJ as the final arbiter of the withdrawal agreement. There are many issues on which we are in agreement with the EU but, when it comes to these matters, you can expect the government’s response to be robust.”
They added: “This is a draft negotiating position by the EU and not - as some would like you to believe - a final, binding text.”
Meanwhile Boris Johnson sparked a fresh row last night after he appeared to concede that Brexit may lead to the return of a hard border in Ireland in a letter to Mrs May that was leaked to Sky News.
But Number 10 insisted there was no plan to contemplate a return to a hard border.