LONDON – Theresa May has secured concessions from Brussels that will let her keep all of the United Kingdom in a customs union with the European Union to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland, the Sunday Times reported, without saying where it obtained the information.
The concessions could win over some opposition Labour Party lawmakers and increase the chances of getting a Brexit deal through Parliament, the Times said.
The newspaper said May is also on course to win an agreement on a "future economic partnership" that will allow the U.S. to keep open the prospect of a free-trade accord similar to the one Canada has with the E.U. That in turn could sway the euroskeptic wing of her Conservative Party.
A May spokesman said Sunday that the Times report was "speculation" and that negotiations with the E.U. are ongoing. The government previously said the withdrawal agreement is 95 percent complete and that there's also been progress in talks on the future relationship.
The key sticking point remains how to avoid customs checks taking place at the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic without putting up new barriers between Northern Ireland and the British mainland.
According to the Times, the E.U. has agreed to May's call for a U.K.-wide customs deal.