Brexit: Irish rule out time-limited Brexit backstop

James Marshall
November 6, 2018

Mrs May will meet with her cabinet tomorrow to brief ministers on the status of Brexit negotiations, and to persuade them to rally round her solution to the Irish border issue.

Fresh reports of a compromise over the Irish border backstop have raised hopes that the European Union will be able to call a leaders summit by November 25 to sign-off the deal.

He described the UK as a "divided kingdom", which he said has not helped the negotiation process, adding: "That has made it very hard to come to an agreement".

Therefore in order to get the current iteration of the backstop through cabinet, the PM must persuade ministers that the EU has no intention to trap the United Kingdom in a customs union in perpetuity.

"Don't be under any illusion, there remains a significant amount of work to do", the spokesman told reporters.

Mr Barnier himself said a breakthrough on the Irish border issue was not close.

"I don't want to go into the details, we're willing to consider improvements to the backstop but we need to reach an agreement for this backstop and we need a genuine backstop, an operational backstop to the point".

Following the meeting, the PM's official spokesman said: "The Prime Minister said she was confident of reaching a deal".

Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, told May in a phonecall on Monday that while he was open to the possibility of the "independent mechanism", he could not allow the United Kingdom to dictate the terms of any backstop.

But he made clear that he would not accept an arrangement which gave the United Kingdom unilateral powers to ditch the customs union without the agreement of Brussels.

Responding to Ireland's rejection of a time-limit or a United Kingdom ability to unilaterally exit a backstop, the DUP's chief whip Jeffrey Donaldson warned: "Looks like we're heading for no deal".

Some ministers said they wanted detailed legal advice so they understood the deal fully before they agreed on it.

A no-deal outcome, he said, "will have serious consequences for economy of Irish Republic". In addition, United Kingdom won't have to pay a penny more to European Union, which means big increase for Dublin.

'So, we think there's a deal to be had if they recognise that the deal is unacceptable to Parliament, I think that opens up a vista of the opportunity of the real negotiations'.

In response, Sir Jeffrey said Dublin's stance was making a no-deal Brexit likely.

"Deal or no deal, it's becoming clearer by the day that the United Kingdom is headed for a miserable Brexit".

Both Brexit-supporting MPs on the British mainland and Northern Irish represenatives have threatened to vote down in parliament any deal struck by May that separates Irish province from Great Britain or that leaves the United Kingdom within the EU's legislative orbit for an indefinite period of time. "Only a People's Vote offers the United Kingdom a real choice over our future".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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