European Union negotiator rejects key element of United Kingdom govt Brexit plan

The plan was axed as it was

At a joint news conference with the Brexit secretary after three days of talks among officials in Brussels, Barnier made clear British offers to collect customs duties for the EU as part of efforts to avoid friction on Northern Ireland's new EU border had failed to convince already sceptical Europeans.

The UK's "Chequers" white paper outlines a proposal for the country's departure from the EU's single market and the customs union, laying out a new economic cooperation framework that proponents say is aimed at minimising disruption to trade between Britain and the EU.

EU and UK negotiators agreed to resume Brexit talks in mid-August in an attempt to agree the withdrawal deal by October, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said after he met Thursday with UK Brexit secretary Dominic Raab.

The EU's verdict is a blow to May.

Theresa May's Brexit options are narrowing.

If the premier can't persuade her own members of Parliament to back an agreement, the United Kingdom will be on course to crash out of the bloc with no deal on 29 March next year.

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The technology needed for the UK's customs plan in the white paper, in the unlikely event of a U-turn by Barnier, is not expected to be ready until 2022 at the earliest.

Boris Johnson has fired another broadside at May's Brexit plans, branding them unworkable and calling on fellow Tory MPs to "chuck Chequers".

"There are other points on which we have a problem because they contradict, they clash with, the European Council guidelines", Mr Barnier added.

Mrs May confirmed on Tuesday that she had taken personal charge of the negotiations, with Mr Raab "deputising" for her in Brussels.

"Any customs arrangements or customs union - and I have always said that the EU is open to a customs union - must respect this principle".

Speaking during a visit to the Bombardier aircraft factory in Belfast on Wednesday, he said: "That's a sensible and responsible thing for a Government to do and large businesses who are importing or exporting large volumes of products or produce will be making contingency plans, and we would encourage them to do so and work closely with them as they are putting those plans together". The UK has suggested joint oversight of the system that would make it more hard for UK access to be withdrawn.

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We are not going to negotiate on that. Talks have stalled in part because the two sides can't agree on the backstop plan for the Irish border.

In the press conference, Mr Barnier was blunt, telling Mr Raab that the European Union also has red lines.

"This is not "taking back control", it is abandoning it, says the report, entitled Feeding Britain: Food security after Brexit and authored by food, science and environmental policy experts Prof Tim Lang (City University), Prof Erik Millstone (Sussex University), Tony Lewis (Chartered Institute of Environmental Health) and Prof Terry Marsden (Cardiff University)".

"We will look at this issue in the round and make sure that there's adequate food supplies", Raab said when asked about his preparations for a so-called no deal scenario.

Taking a dig at the Leave campaign's "taking back control" mantra from the 2016 European Union referendum, Mr Barnier warned: "Maintaining control of our money, law and borders also applies to the EU's customs policy".

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