File photo of Boris Johnson making his Vote Leave speech in Preston, Lancs., along with Michael Gove and Priti Patel as they bring their Brexit roadshow to the Lancashire city. 1 June 2016. The bus used in the Vote Leave campaign has now been bought by Greenpeace.

“We’re not going to be intimidated” EU’s Brexit negotiator tells May

Theresa May had just battled through possibly the hardest 24 hours of her premiership, only for her plans to be snubbed by the EU.

May had dealt with a major rebellion, from within her own party, and somehow managed to put together a Brexit plan to take to the EU, only for it to be turned down.

The PM hoped that a temporary customs arrangement would be accepted by the EU, but Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, said it would not apply to the whole of the UK.

He said: “Let me be clear – our backstop cannot be applied to the whole of the UK… What is feasible for a territory the size of Northern Ireland is not feasible for a territory the size of the United Kingdom.

“On regulatory alignment we have been pragmatic and developed the least disruptive system for citizens and businesses on both sides. Let’s go to pragmatism. Checks carried out on ferries are less disruptive than along a 500km land border.”

It is still possible that N.Ireland could remain in the customs union, apart from the rest of the UK, even though the PM categorically rejected the idea.

Barnier also addressed comments made by David Davis this week, he stated that his team would not “be intimidated by this blame game.”

A British Government spokesperson said: “The Prime Minster has been clear that we will never accept a customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. We are also committed to maintaining the integrity of our own internal market.”

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