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Advocates of brand new Brexit deal ‘not residing in real world’: Irish minister

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Pro-Brexit British ministers are “not coping with the genuine world” once they think they’ll renegotiate divorce treaty agreed using the EU yesterday, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Saturday.

British Pm Theresa May is fighting of saving the draft withdrawal deal in advance of a vote in parliament after ministerial resignations and open talk on the challenge to her leadership followed its endorsement by cabinet.?

British media reported on Friday that pro-Brexit ministers, including trade minister Liam Fox and environment minister Michael Gove, by far the most prominent Brexiteer in May’s government, would meet this weekend to switch her deal.

Ireland is one of several EU governments that have already said clearly there was little scope to alter the proposals.

Coveney said on Saturday how the withdrawal treaty couldn’t survive reopened and suggested that wavering British ministers instead try to influence the political declaration on future relations still under discussion.

“This concept that now after a couple of years of negotiation, somehow about cabinet ministers can negotiate a unique outcome and agree it themselves, and then expect the EU to simply sign up to that, I recently think it’s not living in actuality,” Coveney told a podcast recorded by the Irish Times at his Fine Gael party’s annual conference.?

The legally-binding withdrawal treaty forms element of a Brexit package alongside the declaration, which envoys with the other EU member states met to debate in Brussels on Friday in advance of a Nov. 25 summit for EU heads to rubber-stamp both documents.

Diplomats and officials associated with Friday’s meeting told Reuters that EU states said they wanted an “ambitious” future relationship with Britain but that the will not mean frictionless trade.

Coveney said talks from the future within the declaration provided British ministers using the probability to grab the reassurances needed on future EU-British trade.

“The negotiating team has deliberately thought we would publish a skeleton document to be fleshed out and can double or quadruple sizes by the time it’s done,” he was quoted saying, adding that it was “absolutely” up for discussion with London.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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