Britain eyes Brexit deal by Nov 21, says minister

Brexit minister Dominic Raab names date in letter to the House of Commons Brexit scrutiny committee
Britain eyes Brexit deal by Nov 21, says minister
Most of the divorce deal with Brussels is agreed but talks remain stuck on how to avoid new checks on Britain's land border with EU member Ireland.
By AFP
Wed 31 Oct 2018 08:07 PM

Britain hopes to finalise a deal on its withdrawal from the European Union by November 21, the Brexit minister told MPs in a letter published on Wednesday.

"I would be happy to give evidence to the committee when a deal is finalised, and currently expect 21 November to be suitable," Dominic Raab wrote to the House of Commons Brexit scrutiny committee.

The letter is dated October 24, but was only made public on Wednesday.

Both Raab and Oliver Robbins, Prime Minister Theresa May's chief Brexit advisor, have been invited to address the committee on November 21.

Most of the divorce deal with Brussels is agreed but talks remain stuck on how to avoid new checks on Britain's land border with EU member Ireland after it leaves the bloc's single market and customs union.

Raab will visit the UK province of Northern Ireland on Friday on a "fact-finding trip", which will include meetings with local businesses and politicians, an official in his ministry told AFP.

EU leaders had mooted a special summit in mid-November to seal the Brexit deal, but they warned earlier this month that this would not happen without more progress on the Irish issue.

Raab wrote: "The end is now firmly in sight and, while obstacles remain, it cannot be beyond us to navigate them."

Separately, his predecessor David Davis, who quit over the government's approach to Brexit in July, has said the final deal will likely pass when it comes to a vote in the House of Commons.

Davis is among a large minority of May's Conservative MPs who strongly oppose her strategy, raising fears the deal will be rejected.

"The fear of no deal, I think.... That will win and there will be a deal," Davis told an event on Tuesday evening, according to Sky News television.

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