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Brexiteers outline EU deal terms

Brexiteers outline EU deal terms

Eight pro-Brexit lawyers, including seven Tory and DUP MPs, have outlined the key terms Theresa May must deliver to secure their support for her deal to leave the European Union.They want to examine any agreement Attorney General Geoffrey Cox reaches with Brussels over the Northern Ireland backstop - to ensure it is temporary.The backstop is designed to avoid a hard border with Ireland after Brexit.It comes as a senior Brexiteer pointed to MPs' growing mood for compromise.
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Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the influential 1922 committee of backbench Conservative MPs, said: "Most MPs are in a mood to compromise, but the danger of this backstop becoming permanent is a real one and it has to be tackled.
"My conversations with senior diplomats and politicians from across Europe have given me cause for optimism that a breakthrough is near."He added: "We know what is needed to shift the logjam. The Attorney General needs to give a legally binding guarantee that the backstop is temporary."The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March, with or without a deal.MPs last month rejected the withdrawal deal Theresa May has reached with the EU by 230 votes - the biggest defeat for a sitting government in history.Mrs May believes the majority of the MPs who voted against her deal - including 118 Conservatives - would back it if she manages to secure changes that would prevent the UK being tied to EU customs laws indefinitely.She has promised MPs another vote on her deal by 12 March - and if that fails, she says MPs will get a vote on whether the UK should leave without a deal, and then, by 14 March, a vote on whether Brexit should be postponed for a short period.Attorney General Geoffrey Cox is in talks with EU officials on changes to the Irish backstop clause - seen as the sticking point for many Tories - which could tie the UK to EU customs union until a permanent trade deal has been agreed.
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Brexiteers outline EU deal terms

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But on Sunday, the lawyers from the European Research Group (ERG) of Brexiteer Tories, led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, announced "three tests" the government must pass to win their backing.In private talks with Mr Cox, the ERG has called for a legally binding mechanism to escape the backstop, with a clear exit route and an unambiguous rewrite of the language in the government's legal advice, according to The Sunday Times.The stance has been drawn up in conjunction with the Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which Mrs May relies on to keep her in power, and which has been calling for the backstop clause to be removed from the agreement.In an interview with the Sunday Times, one of the lawyers - Michael Tomlinson - said they must see any concession from Brussels "in black and white" and in plenty of time before the PM asks Parliament to vote on her revised deal.
Nigel Dodds
Ireland–UK border
Theresa May
Dominic Raab
Geoffrey Cox
Brexit
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