'Chucking Chequers' misses the point of Brexit hold-up

The cabinet meeting on Monday is yet another crunch point for the Prime Minister and her Chequers compromise deal reached in July.
It risks missing the point, however, in terms of what is actually holding up negotiations with the European Union.Whatever the temptation to force the PM to abandon Chequers, the core of which is to keep free and frictionless trade in goods and agriculture by maintaining common rules with the European Union, it is the Irish border problem that is the actual hold up over the next month.Sceptical members of the cabinet may well feel emboldened to persuade the PM to "chuck Chequers" by the fact that the EU27 so clearly and publicly told her that its key economic elements "will not work".

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EU mocks Theresa May over Chequers proposal
But the fight she needs to have right now after last week's Salzburg summit misjudgements is about the Irish border backstop arrangement.She had attempted to say to Irish leader Leo Varadkar that detailed UK plans on Ireland would not be ready until November. This is what prompted the EU27 over lunch last Thursday, led by President Macron of France to drop a plan to commit to a special deal-making Brexit summit in mid-November.That summit will now depend on Michel Barnier reporting back in three weeks' time to the EU27 at the October summit that substantial progress has been made on the commitments in relation to Ireland.


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This was the really significant part of the PM's Number 10 podium statement last Friday. She gave an indication that the UK government would accept extra regulatory checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as long as they were approved by the Northern Ireland assembly.This plan was verbally communicated to Mr Varadkar in outline at last week's Salzburg breakfast meeting, but with nothing on paper.He in turn asked for detailed written plans. It appears as a result of last week's events they will now be forthcoming.Both sides are inching closer together on this thorny and controversial issue. The PM said there could be no customs or VAT checks, but there are existing small-scale checks in agriculture to maintain the integrity of all Ireland markets, for example cattle.
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