UK will not present 'Malthouse Compromise' Brexit proposal to EU

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LONDON (Feb 19): The British Government will not pursue a compromise Brexit proposal, which has been championed by members of Theresa May's Conservative Party, in negotiations with the European Union, reporters for the Mail on Sunday and Daily Telegraph said.

The 'Malthouse Compromise' had been designed to help unite pro-EU and Brexiteer factions in her party and had been under consideration by May's office after a series of meeting with its supporters.

It included looking at alternatives to the contentious 'backstop' — an insurance policy written into Britain's Brexit deal which is designed to prevent a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The backstop has become the main point of contention in exit talks, which have reached an impasse with less than six weeks until Britain leaves the bloc.

"It sounds like the Malthouse Compromise is dead," Cole said, Mail on Sunday reporter Harry Cole said on Twitter, citing an unidentified source following an earlier cabinet meeting.

"Cabinet Ministers explicitly told Malthouse Compromise won’t be part of the measures put to the EU this week."

May needs the support of her whole party to get a Brexit deal through Parliament at the second time of asking. In January her exit deal was overwhelmingly rejected as both wings of her party voted against it.

May is due to meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday.

Asked whether May had ruled the proposal out, her spokesman referred to a statement issued by the Brexit department on Monday night following talks between Brexit Minister Stephen Barclay and EU negotiator Michel Barnier.

The statement said that the European Commission had engaged with the ideas put forward by Britain but raised concerns about "their viability to resolve the backstop."

"We agreed to keep exploring the use of alternative arrangements — especially how they might be developed to ensure the absence of a hard border in Northern Ireland on a permanent footing, avoiding the need for the backstop to ever enter force," the statement said.