Gove backs PM May deal on EU exit but Irish PM cautious over two-year transition period

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British minister Michael Gove, an influential pro-Brexit voice in Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet, gave his support on Friday (8) to a deal announced in Brussels to move negotiations forward.

“This is a significant personal political achievement for the Prime Minister… Earlier this week, there were all sorts of doomsayers who thought there would be no prospect of an agreement. They’ve been proven wrong,” he told BBC radio.

The bloc’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said that Britain’s withdrawal agreement from the European Union must be ready by October, as London and the 27 remaining states sealed a deal to move their negotiations forward.

“We will need to have the final version of the withdrawal agreement ready by October 2018, in less than one year,” Barnier told a news conference.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said that the Brexit transition period of around two years envisaged in EU draft guidelines  is a “decent amount of time” but a longer period could be needed to ratify a future trade deal.

“Two years is a decent amount of time, we would be happy for it to be longer but we’re also comfortable with two years,” Varadkar told a news conference after hailing Friday’s agreement on the Irish border as “a very significant day” for the whole of the island.

“I would add one word of caution to having a transition phase of two years, obviously what we’re going to want to do is negotiate new treaties between the UK and EU. It can take many years to negotiate treaties and how long the transition phase should be, in my view, must be linked to how long it will take us to secure ratification of those treaties.”

Reuters