British PM Theresa May meets Dutch counterpart in key Brexit week

British PM Theresa May meets Dutch counterpart in key Brexit week

British Prime Minister Theresa May held talks Tuesday with her Dutch counterpart in a crunch week when she is due to thrash out with ministers the shape of trade ties with the European Union after Brexit.

Britain's Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove talks about the planned cabinet meeting, at the Prime Minister's official country residence Chequers later this week, on the BBC radio Today programme in London, Britain, July 4, 2018. We have supported the government's drive to seek the best possible deal for the United Kingdom economy.

With the clock ticking towards a March departure date and passions running high, May needs to thrash out a deal with her ministers on a future customs arrangement with the EU.

"The EEA is not right because the EEA, and particularly in the form that the European Commission has proposed it, would not deliver on the vote of the referendum and the vote of the British people", she said.

But Mr Rees-Mogg came in for stinging criticism from his own party, with Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan telling him to "pipe down".

A new customs plan to solve the Ireland/Northern Ireland border issue was discussed but the prime minister "didn't go into any details", he added.

But both leaders only laughed when asked by waiting reporters if the European Union would support May's reported proposal of a third option for overcoming the hard issue of what customs arrangements to adopt after Brexit.

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"At Chequers the prime minister must stick to her righteous cause and deliver what she has said she would do", Conservative Brexit campaigner Jacob Rees-Mogg wrote in Britain's best-selling tabloid newspaper, The Sun, on Tuesday.

The comments will be seen as a rebuke to the Foreign Secretary, who reportedly said "f*** business" when asked about Brexit fears.

In recent weeks, major European manufacturers Airbus, BMW and Siemens have warned that Brexit could mean their pulling investment out of Britain, imperilling tens of thousands of jobs. "All the prime minister says on Brexit is, 'We need clarity about our future relationship.' Yes we do: we've been waiting for over two years for any clarity from this government".

He hoped the white paper would bring "the necessary clarity, realism and impetus to these negotiations".

In Strasbourg, Mr Tusk told MEPs: "The sooner we get a precise United Kingdom proposal on the Irish border, the better the chance to finalise the Brexit negotiations this year".

"We have been waiting for months for the White Paper of 10 Downing Street and we will analyse it on its merits", Juncker said in French, referring to the May government's expected proposal.

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