Brexit: No deal brings risk of stockpiling says watchdog

A Brexit sign is seen between Donegal in the Republic of Ireland and Londonderry in Northern Ireland at the border village of Muff

A day earlier, the DUP had said it was prepared to vote down the budget if the prime minister in their eyes conceded too much ground to Brussels in the European Union talks, risking an abrupt end to the confidence and supply agreement that has kept May in Downing Street since the 2017 election in which the Tories lost their overall majority.

"I'm sure they too will be persuaded the alternatives - of no deal or potentially a Corbyn government - would not be of benefit to them or Northern Ireland", he said.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May attends a roundtable meeting with business leaders in London, Britain, October 11, 2018. Many of her cabinet colleagues have assured me of their Unionism.

"Therefore, they could not in good conscience recommend a deal which places a trade barrier on United Kingdom businesses moving goods from one part of the Kingdom to another".

The EU suggests Northern Ireland stay aligned with its customs union and single market during that period, and there are signs the British government could accept elements of this plan.

Barnier said customs forms could be completed in advance online and the "only visible systematic checks" would involve scanning bar codes on lorries or containers on ferries or in ports.

German economy minister Peter Altmaier said he is "convinced" a deal is possible after meeting global trade secretary Liam Fox in Berlin on Thursday. Why would a Unionist politician want to bring down a Conservative and Unionist government, lose the influence it has on that administration and risk the extra funding for Northern Ireland that the DUP received in exchange for agreeing to support the Tory minority government?

Not such a pleasant morning for the Prime Minister who is trying to please the DUP, the European Research Group - the ultra pro-Brexit wing of her own party - and the EU.

However Brexiteers - including Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab - are insisting any arrangement which would see the United Kingdom effectively remain part of the customs union while negotiations over a free trade deal take place must be strictly time-limited - something the EU has been resisting.

For customs and VAT, Barnier said, "we propose using the existing customs procedures to avoid doing checks at the transit points".

Eurosceptic Conservative MPs who want a clean break with the European Union have expressed alarm at reports that, as it races to get a deal, the government may agree this alignment would last indefinitely.

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