Dominic Raab, Brexit secretary, has urged Theresa May to back a hardline plan over the Irish border as exit talks reach a climax in Brussels, in a move that has created tensions at the top of the UK government.
Mr Raab, a Eurosceptic, wants Britain to have the right to pull out unilaterally from any “backstop” plan to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland with just three months’ notice, even though Brussels has demanded an “all-weather” guarantee.
The Brexit secretary’s proposal, reported in the Daily Telegraph, would be controversial. The paper quoted an EU source as saying: “The idea that an alternative arrangement that delivers no hard border in Ireland would be ready in three months is totally unrealistic.”
But the Financial Times has been told that Mr Raab has written to Mrs May urging her to support the plan and claiming that both the Irish government and Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, might be able to accept it.
Equities markets in Asia-Pacific fell on Monday after Larry Kudlow, Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, poured cold water on the prospect of an imminent US-China trade agreement. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong was down 2.4 per cent while the CSI 300 in mainland China shed 1.5 per cent. Japan’s Topix slipped 1.1 per cent.
Futures tip the FTSE 100 to open flat while the S&P 500 is set to open down 0.6 per cent.
The economic calendar is on the lighter side for Monday (all times Hong Kong):
- 09.30: UK services purchasing managers’ index
- 09.30: eurozone Sentix investor sentiment