Leo Varadkar met PM Theresa May yesterday in Bulgaria and said he would welcome any customs move which brought the UK closer to the EU

Brexit minister David Davis told his cabinet colleagues on Tuesday that the document will be the most significant publication on relations with the European Union since the 2016 referendum.

Labour said it was "deeply disturbing" that ministers "still can not agree on the most fundamental Brexit issues".

He said the white paper would include "detailed, ambitious and precise explanations" of the government's positions, with less than 11 months to go before Britain is due to quit the EU.

Tuesday's 90-minute meeting of the Cabinet's Brexit negotiations sub-committee heard presentations from Brexit Secretary David Davis and Cabinet Office minister David Lidington on the work completed so far by two ministerial working groups set up by Mrs May last week to look for improvements to the two schemes.

Mrs May tucked in to breakfast with her fellow EU leaders as the summit got under way today
Mrs May tucked in to breakfast with her fellow EU leaders as the summit got under way today

Conservative MPs were invited into Downing Street on Monday for a briefing from the PM and chief of staff Gavin Barwell on the "customs partnership", believed to be Mrs May's preferred option, under which the United Kingdom would collect tariffs on the EU's behalf.

The government could be forced on Wednesday to publish the private papers that have been prepared for the inner Brexit cabinet to help break the deadlock in their negotiations.

"We have been clear that there will be no new infrastructure at the border", she said.

They are "maximum facilitation" - which is based on using technology to minimise the need for customs checks after Brexit - and "customs partnership" which would involve the United Kingdom collecting tariffs on behalf of the EU.


European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier is reported to have said it was not worth fighting about United Kingdom options for a "customs partnership" or "maximum facilitation" at the border, as neither of them is "realistic".

Prime Minister Theresa May trailed the customs partnership option in her Mansion House speech and it is believe to be her preferred option, while leading Brexiteers have thrown their weight behind the "max fac" model.

The Northern Ireland secretary has reiterated the government's pledge to have no new cameras at the Irish border after Brexit.

Jeremy Corbyn's party has tabled a motion in the Commons for debate on Wednesday created to break the "deadlock".


The "humble address" procedure was successfully used by Labour in November past year to secure the release of the Government's Brexit studies on the economy after the Tories dodged taking part in a vote.

However, ministers did agree that big decisions had to be taken soon, one official said.

White papers are policy documents produced by the government that set out proposals for future legislation.

'Labour called for a white paper before Article 50 was triggered.


'Today's failure highlights the deep division at the heart of Government on the most basic of issues.

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