Raab Rows Back on May's Brexit Compromise, Telegraph Says

(Bloomberg) -- Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said the U.K. must not agree to extend the Brexit transition period unless the European Union drops its demand for a fallback to protect Northern Ireland from having a hard border, the Telegraph reported.

Raab Rows Back on May's Brexit Compromise, Telegraph Says

The option floated by Theresa May that the country should remain tied to EU beyond Dec. 2020 would only be an "alternative to the insurance plan insisted by Brussels,” he said. The Telegraph, often a mouthpiece for the right wing of the Conservative Party, said Raab’s comments would be welcomed by pro-Brexit MPs.

Bloomberg reported late last week that May is said to be ready to ditch one of her key Brexit demands to resolve the vexed issue of the Irish border and clear the path to a deal. Her fix could result in Britain being tied indefinitely to the EU’s customs rules.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, acknowledged in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche that the Irish border is the toughest issue of the Brext talks but added that it’s up to the U.K. to come up with a reasonable solution.

Raab’s comments were published hours after hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of west London to protest against the Brexit vote and the government’s subsequent handling of it. The march was called by People’s Vote, a group that’s campaigning for the public to have a say on any final Brexit deal, so that the government can’t force it through Parliament.

Organizers are talking to 50 Tories including five frontbenchers who might back a second referendum, the Times reported.

The same newspaper also suggested there’s almost enough discontent within the Conservative Party to trigger a challenge to May’s leadership. As many as 46 lawmakers in the House of Commons sent a letter to the backbench 1922 Committee seeking a contest, two short of the number needed. An unspecified number of Cabinet ministers would vote against her in a leadership ballot, the newspaper said.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.