Brexit: No deal brings risk of stockpiling says watchdog

Arlene Foster DUP leader

The threat to vote down the Budget will put pressure on the Cabinet to deliver a deal in which the whole of the United Kingdom remains in a temporary customs union with the EU until a solution is found which would avoid regulatory or customs checks on the Irish border. It also warned about the risk of grounding of British aircraft not being able to fly, should no agreement be made.

Barnier said Brexit would trigger the need for customs, Value-Added Tax and compliance checks with EU standards between Ireland and Northern Ireland in the event that a planned "backstop" were triggered because a future EU-UK trade deal was not sufficient in itself to ensure the land frontier was not a "hard border".

The unionist leader said she feared that the European Union was forcing Northern Ireland into a deal that amounted to "the worst of one world" in which the region would remain part of the single market and remain under the ECJ, and would remain subject to trade restrictions with the rest of the UK.

For industrial goods, he said it could be done by "market surveilance authorities", on-site in the companies.

"Our challenge is to make sure that these procedures are as easy as possible and not burdensome, particularly for small and medium businness", he said in a speech that ended with a standing ovation.

The Northern Irish party that British Prime Minister Theresa May's government relies on for support says it will consider backing a vote of no-confidence if May agrees to European Union checks on goods entering the region post-Brexit.

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Barnier said he realised such checks were politically hard but this was the effect of Britons voting to leave the EU.

He reiterated the EU's line welcoming May's proposals for a bold free-trade deal "without tariffs or quotas" and close security ties after Brexit.

But he stuck to the EU's rejection of London's plan for a "regulatory framework for goods", saying it would give Britain an unfair competitive advantage by allowing access to parts of the bloc's single market without ensuring the country honours all of its conditions.

EU Brexit pointman Michel Barnier and Martin Selmayr, the powerful head of the EU Commission's bureaucracy, briefed commissioners on progress just a week before the October 18 meeting that has been dubbed a "moment of truth". The sides will continue negotiations through the weekend with hopes for a breakthrough as early as Monday.

A senior European Union official has revealed that, with just a week to go before the official deadline for a deal, there has not yet been a breakthrough in Brexit talks.

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