Brexit backstop plan to be published today after Theresa May and David Davis hold emergency talks

Compromise reached during prime minister's meetings with leading Brexiteers

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Thursday 07 June 2018 12:50 BST
What is still needed to complete a deal with the EU?

The government's plan for a Brexit "backstop" will be published today after Theresa May and David Davis held last-minute crunch talks in an bid resolve their differences.

The proposal, which spells out what will happen if no other arrangement is made for the Northern Ireland border, was the subject of a row between the prime minister and her Brexit secretary. Mr Davis was reported to be considering resigning over the issue.

However, the crisis appears to have been averted after the pair held talks in Ms May's Commons office and later had a second meeting in Downing Street. The prime minister also held separate, shorter meetings with Brexiteer cabinet ministers Boris Johnson and Liam Fox.

In a clear suggestion the deadlock had been broken, government sources confirmed the document would be published on Thursday and said Mr Davis would not be resigning.

Ms May's spokesperson said the prime minister had held "constructive discussions" with the Brexit secretary on Thursday morning.

The one-to-one talks took place in advance of a meeting of the cabinet's Brexit sub-committee, which has yet to sign off the proposal.

A source close to Mr Davis told The Independent: "Obviously there's been a back and forth on this paper, as there always is whenever the government publishes anything.

"The backstop paper has been amended and now expresses, in much more detail, the time limited nature of our proposal - something the PM and DD have always been committed to."

Earlier on Thursday, David Jones, a former Brexit minister, warned Ms May that Mr Davis "needs to stay where he is".

He told the BBC Radio 4's Today: "I don't think David Davis should resign. He's been outstandingly good at his job...he would be a huge loss to the government and I don't think we should contemplate that scenario.

"We need to make sure that David Davis stays at the negotiating table. Anything that caused him to leave would be deeply regrettable and deeply damaging to the country."

"I would be deeply upset if David Davis were no longer the Brexit secretary."

He added: "To contemplate these negotiations continuing without David Davis would be deeply upsetting and deeply dangerous for the country. David Davis needs to stay where he is."

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