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Brexiteers will back EU officials at ports to avoid hard Border


Jacob Rees-Mogg

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Bloomberg via Getty Images

Jacob Rees-Mogg

UK Brexiteers have backed a package of concessions to help unlock a Canada-style trade deal with Brussels.

Senior members of the Conservatives' 60-strong European Research Group said they would support EU officials being stationed at UK ports after Brexit to break the impasse with Brussels.

The MPs, including the former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith and Jacob Rees-Mogg, also suggested they would support the Government enforcing EU rules on goods exported to the bloc by firms in Britain.

Brexiteers regard both proposals as a significant concession to help avoid a hard Border with Northern Ireland, while paving the way for a much looser relationship with the EU than under the "common rulebook" envisaged by Theresa May's Chequers plan.

Michel Barnier last month discussed the idea of EU officials carrying out checks in UK ports.

This is the first time senior Brexiteers have publicly supported such a plan.

Meanwhile, Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon said it appeared "almost inevitable" that her party would vote against any Brexit agreement Theresa May strikes - despite warning that no deal will have catastrophic consequences. The first minister said nationalist MPs at Westminster would oppose any deal that omits single market membership - something that has never been part of the prime minister's Brexit negotiations.

Speaking as the SNP conference opened in Glasgow yesterday, Ms Sturgeon also disclosed her party's MPs would "undoubtedly" back holding a second referendum on leaving the EU if that became an option.

Irish Independent