Britain is suggesting it would be willing to extend the use of European Union tariffs as a backstop if there are delays in ratification of a Brexit deal, to avoid a return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.
Anti-Brexit demonstrators wave EU and Union flags outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, January 30, 2018.
Under pressure from the European Union to move forward with talks on the future partnership that will follow its exit from the bloc, Britain must first settle on a customs proposal to present to skeptical negotiators in Brussels.
The Taoiseach and the UK Prime Minister Theresa May held a bi-lateral meeting in Bulgaria where Ms May put some tentative proposals to him on avoiding a hard Border in Northern Ireland.
THERESA MAY has insisted the United Kingdom will leave the EU customs union after speculation the departure could be delayed for years until a replacement is agreed.
The tariffs govern the duties levied on goods arriving in the customs union, the EU's trading bloc, which Britain is now a member of.
The U.K. said on Thursday that it will make a formal proposal for post-Brexit customs arrangements soon.
But critics have said that by leaving the customs union, May has increased the chance of a return to a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which could reignite sectarian violence.More news: Syria's Assad meets with Putin in Russian Federation
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It came in an exchange in the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee that was not in fact about the border, but was probably influenced by Dublin's approach to the Brexit.
A senior European Union source has told Business Insider that the Commission will include a clause in the Withdrawal Agreement to ensure that the backstop will only cease once Britain has found a way of avoiding a hard border.
Meanwhile, the British cabinet continues to clash over the options open for a Northern Ireland-only agreement with the EU.
Downing Street has announced that the Prime Minister confirmed to her Cabinet that the Government is producing a white paper on its proposed future relationship with the EU. Until that time, London will remain in the customs Union of the EU.
But Tory MP Marcus Fysh shut down the Remainer claim and said the whole Irish border issue has been "blown out of proportion". Hardliners insist that a so-called "Max-Fac" (Maximum Facilitation) scenario is still possible, in which Ireland will have a seamless border with cameras alone.
Varadkar echoed comments made by the EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier on Tuesday that little progress had been made in recent weeks and repeated his own recent warning that there was a real risk of the sides failing to reach a withdrawal treaty by October.
"In these negotiations while the Irish government seem to be playing a hard ball way".