New Brexit deal likely to be announced in next fortnight

Leo Varadkar says he ‘has regrets’ over Northern Ireland Protocol

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A new Brexit deal is likely to be announced soon after the UK loosened its tough resistance to European judges ruling on issues in Northern Ireland. It is reported that an agreement to end the row over the Northern Ireland Protocol is set to be revealed within two weeks.

It is believed that the announcement regarding the protocol will be narrowed down by the next week.

The broad shape of the deal has now become clear, according to two sources from the European Union and two in the UK, with final sign-off still to come from Number 10, reported The Telegraph.

Downing Street insiders told the publication that elements of the final package are still moving, but did not deny that the announcement of the deal was expected soon.

A Government spokesman told The Telegraph: “Intensive talks between UK and EU technical teams are ongoing, with more talks due on potential solutions across all areas.”

According to the proposal, goods travelling from the mainland UK destined only for Northern Ireland will not face physical customs checks thanks to a new system of “red” and “green” lanes.

One of the most sensitive areas of agreement, about the exact role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Northern Ireland, is likely to be presented differently by the EU and UK.

The publication further stated that “UK sources close to the deal are insisting that the vast majority of legal clashes about trade in Northern Ireland will not involve the ECJ, playing up the role of the province’s own judges.”

The Northern Ireland Protocol was struck between the UK and the EU to govern the terms of trade in the province after Brexit.

To keep the land border between Northern Ireland and Ireland open, the deal effectively created a customs border for goods travelling from the mainland UK into the province.

One of the major political challenges for Downing Street will be squaring Eurosceptics on the Tory back benches and Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party.

Meanwhile, the Government had been accused of torpedoing critical talks on Northern Ireland after it emerged that the UK held secret talks on improving relations with the EU.

The cross-party summit, was entitled: “How can we make Brexit work better with our neighbours in Europe?

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However, veteran backbencher Sir John Redwood told the Daily Express that taking a softer stance is “deeply damaging” to the UK’s negotiating position.

There is concern that the summit could send the wrong message to the EU, which is currently in talks with the UK in an attempt to resolve issues with the hated Northern Ireland protocol.

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