Tuesday, 11 December, 2018


Brexit: Irish rule out time-limited Brexit backstop

Preparation Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney at the Brexit event Preparation Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney at the Brexit event
Bennie Garza | 05 November, 2018, 18:47

Mr Davis said: "If the attorney-general has warned - as has been reported - that the United Kingdom will not know when the backstop would end and compared it to being stuck in Dante's first circle of hell, then it's time to put an end to this nonsense once and for all."Mr Davis said: "We need the cards laid on the table so we can form a judgment".

"The taoiseach [prime minister] indicated an openness to consider proposals for a review, provided that it was clear that the outcome of any such review could not involve a unilateral decision to end the backstop".

Theresa May has secured concessions from Brussels to keep the whole of Britain in a customs union in the aftermath of Brexit - avoiding a hard Irish border, The Sunday Times reports.

A Downing Street spokesman called the newspaper report "speculation".

The EU had wanted to impose a Northern Ireland-only backstop, in which the region would remain in the single market and customs union, but May wants Brussels to accept an alternative UK-wide customs backstop, to avoid creating an invisible customs border in the Irish Sea.

"Obviously still having this issue in relation to the insurance arrangements for Northern Ireland and Ireland, and that very much remains our focus and attention in getting that deal".

Her Cabinet is to hold talks over the plan early this week, with a potential European Union summit penciled in for the end of November, if they agree enough progress has been made.

But the government's Brexit department stated that they are confident there will be a deal that works for businesses - and reiterated their stance against a People's Vote.

Irish deputy prime minister Simon Coveney said: "The Irish position remains consistent and v clear? that a "time-limited backstop" or a backstop that could be ended by United Kingdom unilaterally would never be agreed to by IRE or EU".

And EU deputy chief Brexit negotiator Sabine Weyand backed Ireland when it warned that a time-limited backstop on the Irish border would never be acceptable.

She is instead pursuing regulatory alignment with the EU and a "backstop" which would keep the entire country in the Customs Union as a "compromise" - but this would effectively preclude Britain from regaining an independent trade policy after Brexit.

"These ideas are not backstops at all and don't deliver on previous United Kingdom commitments".

Reports at the weekend suggested that the EU is now ready to contemplate concessions which would keep all of the United Kingdom in a temporary customs union following the end of a transition period due to end on December 31 2020. The EU has to date rejected a temporary customs union.

However, May's former Brexit Secretary has said she must publish legal advice on any deal ahead of a Commons vote, so MPs are fully briefed.

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