BREXIT LIVE: Emergency talks as Barnier says Brexit could be DELAYED | Politics | News – UK

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UK ministers have leapt into action for emergency talks after the Frenchman revealed he and Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab are yet to fully resolve the Irish backstop, outstanding withdrawal agreement issues and a political declaration on the future relationship.

Michel Barnier met with Mr Raab in Brussels yesterday and told a press conference: “If you count backwards from that date, March 30 2019, the day on which the UK will no longer be a member of the European Union – while remaining for 21 months, if we reach an agreement, in the single market, customs union and European policies – the countdown backwards from there has to take account of the time which is necessary for ratification.

“That is a given, it will take a certain amount of time to ratify the agreement – on the UK side and the European side.

“That takes us for a final agreement on the withdrawal agreement and political declaration well before the end of the year – I’m not going to say October, a few days here, the beginning of November, but not much later than that.”

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Business Secretary Greg Clark held urgent talks with officials in Dublin easier this month on an emergency agreement around Northern Ireland in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

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Downing Street wants to avoid publishing plans for a worst-case scenario that would include importing thousands of generators north of the border.

The electricity industry has operated a single wholesale market across the island of Ireland since 2007 but is underpinned by EU law and without legal clarity, Northern Ireland could be left short of supplies in the event of a messy Brexit divorce.

But the energy issue will not be among those covered by Mr Raab in Westminster tomorrow, with ministers given more time to draft less drastic contingency measures.

He will brief Westminster on Thursday on more than 80 UK no-deal preparedness notices, aimed at helping businesses and citizens in case Britain crashes out of the EU without an agreement.

Mr Raab yesterday dismissed the chance of a no-deal scenario occurring, despite a number of warnings from European politicians and diplomats, while also insisting the UK would be leaving the European Union on March 29, 2019, regardless of whether a deal is in place.

8.40am update: Emergency talks in Northern Ireland as fears heighten over no-deal

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Business Secretary Greg Clark has held urgent talks with emergency officials in Dublin on an emergency agreement around Northern Ireland in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

Downing Street wants to avoid publishing plans for a worst-case scenario that would include importing thousands of generators north of the border.

The electricity industry has operated a single wholesale market across the island of Ireland since 2007 but is underpinned by EU law and without legal clarity, Northern Ireland could be left short of supplies in the event of a messy Brexit divorce.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab will brief Westminster on Thursday on more than 80 UK no-deal preparedness notices, aimed at helping businesses and citizens in case Britain crashes out of the EU without an agreement.

But the energy issue will not be among those covered by Mr Raab in Westminster tomorrow, with ministers given more time to draft less drastic contingency measures.

8.30am update: October deadline for Brexit deal unikely to be met, says Barnier 

Michel Barnier has conceded that talks over a withdrawal deal are unlikely to be may not be completed by the European Council summit in October as previously hoped, leading to fears that Brexit will be delayed.

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The EU’s chief negotiator and Brecit Secretary Dominic Raab are yet to fully agree on the Irish backstop, outstanding withdrawal agreement issues and a political declaration on the future relationship. 

Standing next to Mr Raab at a press conference in Brussels on Tuesday following further talks, Mr Barnier said: “If you count backwards from that date, March 30 2019, the day on which the UK will no longer be a member of the European Union – while remaining for 21 months, if we reach an agreement, in the single market, customs union and European policies – the countdown backwards from there has to take account of the time which is necessary for ratification.

“That is a given, it will take a certain amount of time to ratify the agreement – on the UK side and the European side.

“That takes us for a final agreement on the withdrawal agreement and political declaration well before the end of the year – I’m not going to say October, a few days here, the beginning of November, but not much later than that.”

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