FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt addresses the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Britain September 30, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville
PARIS (Reuters) – British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt on Thursday said securing a Brexit deal was incredibly complicated and it was “probably pushing it” to expect one within the next seven days.
Prime Minister Theresa May is stepping up British efforts to garner European support for a draft deal as negotiations on securing a smooth divorce from the EU, the world’s biggest trading bloc, enter their final stages.
But a major hurdle lies in her way: agreement over a plan to ensure no hard border emerges on the island of Ireland.
“I am confident that we will reach an agreement because it is in all sides interest to reach an agreement,” Hunt said, speaking in Paris. “We are in the final stage.”
Asked if there would be a deal in the next seven days, Hunt replied: “I think that seven days is probably pushing it.”
May must not only strike a deal with Brussels, she must secure the backing of her own parliament where she holds a wafer-thin majority with the support of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party.
“We are confident that we will be able to get a final deal through parliament for the simple reason that Theresa May is not going to sign up to a deal that is inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the referendum,” Hunt said.
Reporting by Luke Baker, Leigh Thomas and Richard Lough; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Janet Lawrence