Barnier blows hole in Theresa May's Brexit plan

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Mr Barnier said he had "no objection in principle" to a backstop being applied to the whole United Kingdom, but added: "We have doubts that it can be done without putting at risk the integrity of our customs union or commercial policy our regulatory policy".

He said despite the publication of Mrs May's white paper, which outlined her vision to bring Brexit to fruition, there were still "questions to be answered".

The new minister let slip details of the new arrangements in the House of Commons last week, when he was asked if he would be "calling the shots" in his new job.

The Prime Minister will host the meeting of her top Ministers in Gateshead, where discussions will focus on implementing the Government's Modern Industrial Strategy.

"What I'm not going to do is wallow in pessimism about the state of this country in relation to Brexit and we are going to go into these negotiations with economic confidence and political ambition", he told the Exiting the EU Select Committee.

"I will lead the negotiations with the European Union, with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union deputising on my behalf".

While Trump's trip was not a full state visit, he has been given red carpet treatment and is scheduled to have tea later with Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle, where her grandson Prince Harry married U.S. actress in May.

The government is continuing its charm offensive, with Theresa May due to visit Austria and the Czech Republic, a day after the EU's chief negotiator effectively killed off her Chequers plan.

Overall responsibility for the talks is being moved to the cabinet office, the ministry that supports May and where her main Brexit adviser, Olly Robbins, is based.

There will be no net reduction to staff numbers in Mr Raab's department, she said.

Responding to his European Union counterpart's remarks, Mr Raab repeated the UK's demand for an Irish backstop plan to be "time-limited" to prevent an "extended limbo" after Brexit.

Leave Means Leave co-chair Richard Tice said that Mr Raab and DExEU had been "completely undermined".

The two men further clashed on whether the Brexit divorce treaty would be reopened over the divorce bill, the UK's debts accrued over 45 years of membership that British officials estimate to be £39bn.

US President Donald Trump (left) and British Prime Minister Theresa May hold a press conference after their meeting at Chequers in Buckinghamshire, Britain.

On the flipside, the Association for Financial Markets in Europe welcomed the proposals.

"This is not "taking back control", it is abandoning it, says the report, entitled Feeding Britain: Food security after Brexit and authored by food, science and environmental policy experts Prof Tim Lang (City University), Prof Erik Millstone (Sussex University), Tony Lewis (Chartered Institute of Environmental Health) and Prof Terry Marsden (Cardiff University)".

But while there are a few who might wallow in pessimism or have us cower in a corner at this historic crossroads, I am confident Britain's best days lie ahead.

We MPs will have our work cut out for us when Parliament resumes formal sittings in September but we have managed to cover a great deal of territory in this parliamentary session.

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