Theresa May's Irish Brexit border plans have been 'annihilated' by EU negotiators

Charles McQuillan / GettyA bus crossing along the border between Northern and the Republic of Ireland passes a sign campaigning against a so called hard Brexit, on February 2, 2017 in Newry, Northern Ireland.
  • Theresa May’s proposals for the Irish border after Brexit were reportedly “annihilated” by European negotiators this week.
  • “It was a detailed and forensic rebuttal,” a senior EU source, who was directly briefed on the meeting, told the Telegraph. “It was made clear that none of the UK’s customs options will work. None of them.”

  • The UK has ruled out remaining in a customs union because it would limit Britain’s ability to strike free trade deals, and insisted it can find “technical” solutions which avoid the need for a hard border between north and south Ireland.

LONDON – Theresa May’s proposals for the Irish border after Brexit were reportedly “annihilated” by European negotiators this week, who said her plans were unworkable.

Senior EU diplomatic sources told the Telegraph that UK proposals to avoid a hard border in Ireland were subjected to a “systematic and forensic annihilation” this week at a meeting between EU officials and Olly Robbins, the UK’s lead Brexit negotiator.

“It was a detailed and forensic rebuttal,” said the source, who was directly briefed on the meeting. “It was made clear that none of the UK’s customs options will work. None of them.”

The meeting threw serious doubt upon the deal UK and EU negotiators are trying to strike on the terms of Britain’s departure from the EU.

The UK has ruled out remaining in a customs union because it would limit Britain’s ability to strike free trade deals, and insisted it can find “technical” solutions which avoid the need for a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, but has

But the EU’s destruction of the UK’s customs proposals adds to a growing consensus that May will have little choice but to remain in the customs union if she wishes to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

The blow followed a government defeat in the House of Lords earlier this week, which will force a vote in the House of Commons on whether May should negotiate for customs union membership.

Rebel Tory MPs could back the amendment, meaning that government defeat on the vote – likely to be held in May – is a distinct possibility.

A UK government spokesperson said Britain is continuing an “intensive work programme to engage” the customs option set out in the joint report published in December by EU and UK negotiators.

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.