Brexit set for further delays as May abandons November summit

Brexit negotiations will likely drag into December as key divisions on the Irish border continue.

Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, had previously set November 21st as the date for a deal but EU ministers have dismissed the chances of a breakthrough this month.

Speaking with reporters in Brussels, Belgian Foreign Minister, Didier Reynders, said: “we are waiting for new news from London

“We have time, but not so much. For this month, it’s very difficult to make real progress, but before Christmas I’m hoping that it will be possible”

Theresa May has stated she will not accept any deal which excludes Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. Though, in a letter leaked to the Times May did not rule out the idea of Northern Ireland continuing to align with some single market rules if a backstop is activated.

DUP leader Arlene Foster reacted angrily and in response tweeted:

“The PM’s letter raises alarm bells for those who value the integrity of our precious union & for those who want a proper Brexit for the whole UK. From her letter, it appears the PM is wedded to the idea of a border down the Irish Sea with NI.”

A potential compromise would involve a UK-wide customs union until a free trade deal can be reached agreed.

Speaking to journalists as he arrived in Brussels for further talks, Brexit minister, Martin Callanan, said: “We’re working hard for a deal. There are a number of important issues we still have to get bottomed out.

“But we can’t rush it. We have to get the right deal. This is an agreement that will endure for many years.”

There are EU summits scheduled for the 13th and 14th of December which would leave little time for a parliamentary vote before the Christmas leave.

Dominic Raab is new Brexit Secretary after David Davis quits

“The odd man out.” This is what the former Brexit Secretary David Davis said he described himself as to Theresa May at Chequers last Friday.

Speaking on the Today programme earlier, Davis claimed that he could not continue with in the role with the negotiation policy as it was, because he believed Britain was giving away too much too easily, and that it was a dangerous strategy that was weak and possibly lead to an inescapable negotiating position. He had to leave his post because he could not fight for a policy which he does not believe in. Davis specifically cited problems with the common rule book.

However, Davis does not want to run for leader, and says he does not want more resignations from other Brexiteers, claiming it is different for him because he was Brexit Secretary and he was the one negotiating face to face with the EU.

Labour have responded through Shadow Treasury Minister for Sustainable Economics Clive Lewis, speaking exclusively to TPN, stated “It’s now evident the country, again because of Tory incompetence and infighting, faces a period of critical instability at a crucial juncture in the EU negotiations. She should, in the national interest, step aside and call a new general election and let Labour do the job of ending this nightmare once and for all.”

Keir Starmer, Labour’s Brexit spokesman, has also called for the PM to put her position to vote in parliament, but doesn’t call so far as calling for a general election, nor does John Mcdonnel, Shadow Chancellor, despite calling the current situation as a “paralysis in government.”

All eyes currently are trained on Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. It is unclear what his next move would be. It is felt that to have any credibility to be the next leader of the Conservative Party, he needs to follow Davis and resign. This would truly bring down the government but, as yet, it is still unclear whether Brexiteers have the numbers to bring May down.

Clearly however the PM is worried, as this morning it has been revealed that Labour MPs have been invited to a briefing on the ‘Chequers deal’ by May’s Chief of Staff Gavin Barwell. This is a sign that May is scrabbling around for support for her position.

Davis has given Brexiteers a rallying call which the likes of Mogg could use. However, they are still not acting as a team, and are awaiting the announcement of either a further resignation or the new Brexit Secretary before fully understanding their position.