• Brexit: Theresa May says 95% of Brexit deal is done (BBC): Theresa May has said she is prepared to “explore every possible option” to break the deadlock in Brexit talks. She told MPs 95% of the terms of exit were agreed but the Irish border was still a “considerable sticking point”. While willing to consider extending the UK’s transition period beyond 2020, she said this was “not desirable” and would have to end “well before” the summer of 2022.
  • May says Brussels working on temporary UK-EU customs territory (FT): Theresa May has said the EU is “actively working” on her proposal for a temporary UK-EU customs territory for the “backstop” and that it should be “legally binding”. Mrs May outlined four steps that need to be taken before an agreement can be reached. First, she said there must be a “commitment to a temporary UK-EU joint customs territory” which is “legally binding so the Northern Ireland only proposal is no longer needed”. Second, Mrs May said that there needed to be an option to extend the transition period as an alternative to the backstop. Third, the prime minister said that both the option of a backstop or an extension could not be indefinite. Finally, she said that the government must deliver “the commitment we have made to ensure full continued access for Northern Ireland’s businesses to the whole of the UK internal market.”
  • Back down on Brexit or face revolt, May warned (The Times): Theresa May is facing a rebellion by more than 40 of her MPs if Brexiteers’ demands are not met in the next 48 hours. The Times reports that Downing Street has commissioned urgent legal advice to determine whether the prime minister must face down new demands by the European Research Group that could interfere with a key part of the Brexit negotiations. Steve Baker MP, a leading officer for the group, has tabled amendments to government legislation that would stop Northern Ireland being placed in a different regulatory and customs territory from the rest of Britain without a vote in the Northern Irish assembly.
  • The UK government has published guidance containing advice on how best to manage customs issues in a ‘no-deal’ scenario. The key publications are:
    • Preparing for a ‘no deal’ EU exit – partnership pack
    • Preparing for a ‘no deal’ EU exit – step by step guide to importing
    • Preparing for a ‘no deal’ EU exit – step by step guide to exporting