Northern Ireland news

Northern Ireland `facing exclusion from future trade deals' after Brexit

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said a deal is close. Picture by Matt Cardy/PA Wire

AS the rhetoric of EU and UK negotiators becomes more positive about the potential of a Brexit deal before the end of the year, it has been suggested Northern Ireland could face exclusion from future British trade deals.

Both Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis and head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker expressed confidence that a deal satisfactory to both sides is close.

Suggestions came from several outlets with good EU sources that among the ideas floated is, following the UK's departure, east-west checks could be "one way", allowing Northern Ireland produce free access to UK and EU.

It was argued that, under such circumstances, the European Commission would "inisist" that in the event of a backstop Northern Ireland would be excluded from UK agreements with so-called `third countries.'

However, this would close the north off from any trade deal negotiated between the UK and countries outside the EU, such as the US.

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However, such restrictions are expected to be strenuously resisted by the DUP - whose confidence and supply pact with Theresa May's government will be required to vote any new measures through parliament - and some Tory MPs.

Meanwhile. the former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, has insisted the UK can "survive and thrive" outside the union.

He told Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, said he was "personally happy" to see the UK leaving the EU as it was "an issue of sovereignty".

"We've never been part of continental Europe's political ambitions to create a federated union, we've always opposed that.

"I think the EU in its current form, and I'm not suggesting it's going to disappear, but it radically needs change and if it's going to have an inner core which is politically motivated, we're never ever going to be an enthusiastic part of that."

However, Dame Inga Beale, chief executive of insurers Lloyd's of London, warned that after Brexit the firm will not be able to offer insurance from London as before.

Dame Inga told BBC One's Andrew Marr show it is opening subsidiary in Brussels.

"We wouldn't have done that if it wasn't for Brexit, something that we've been forced to do.

"We will potentially lose the ability to pay any claims on our contracts and that's what we're lobbying the government for, to say can you resolve this continuity of contract, how can we service our customers beyond Brexit.

"Some jurisdictions are saying that post-Brexit if we don't get some transition deal and some negotiation happening, we fundamentally won't be able to pay a claim for a policy holder, customer, say in Germany."

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