Raab says May’s deal can be sal­vaged... if she re­lents over Ir­ish back­stop ‘exit mech­a­nism’

The Sunday Telegraph - - Brexit Turmoil - By Ed­ward Mal­nick SUN­DAY PO­LIT­I­CAL EDITOR

THERE is “still time” to sal­vage Theresa May’s deal with “mod­est” changes that would al­low it to pass through the Com­mons, Do­minic Raab has said.

Mr Raab dis­tanced him­self from calls to “junk” the in­sur­ance plan in the With­drawal Agree­ment agreed with Brus­sels in its en­tirety.

In­stead the for­mer Brexit Sec­re­tary sug­gested Mrs May could re­gain his sup­port by in­sist­ing on a new “exit mech­a­nism” from the Ir­ish back­stop keep­ing the coun­try in the EU cus­toms union if no other ar­range­ments are reached to avoid a hard bor­der be­tween North­ern Ire­land and the Repub­lic.

Mr Raab, who re­signed after Mrs May over­ruled his in­sis­tence that a uni­lat­eral exit mech­a­nism should be writ­ten into the With­drawal Agree­ment to al­low the UK to ex­tract it­self from such an ar­range­ment, sug­gested the Com­mons could still vote for the deal if she re­lented.

He told The Sun­day Tele­graph: “There is still time to sal­vage this deal so it can be sup­ported more widely in Par­lia­ment and the coun­try.

“First, we need an exit mech­a­nism that al­lows the UK to with­draw from the back­stop. But it could be sub­ject to con­di­tions.

“We can give the Ir­ish govern­ment as­sur­ances that the tech­nol­ogy and mu­tual op­er­a­tional co­op­er­a­tion would be put in place, be­fore we ex­ited, to guar­an­tee no re­turn to a hard bor­der. “Sec­ond, the Po­lit­i­cal Dec­la­ra­tion on the fu­ture re­la­tion­ship needs to be based on a free-trade agree­ment, with ad­di­tional ar­range­ments to avoid cus­toms fric­tions – so we’re not shack­led to a per­ma­nent cus­toms union-sin­gle mar­ket regime over which we have no say.”

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