Ireland says no Brexit 'without backstop'

23 July, 2018, 18:24 | Author: Angel Logan
  • PM Theresa May to visit border businesses in two-day trip to Northern Ireland

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will reaffirm her pledge to keep the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland open following Brexit, saying the notion of a hard border is "almost inconceivable".

"From the start of the negotiations, the UK Government has put Northern Ireland's unique circumstances at the heart of our negotiations", a statement said.

"We've produced a proposal which would enable us to have a free trade area between the United Kingdom and the European Union and a customs arrangement that would mean people here would continue to be able to trade seamlessly across the border and there will be no hard border, that's what we want to see", Mrs May told the Press Association.

The Irish cabinet has been discussing ways to step up preparations for a hard Brexit.

"And as they made clear this week, it is not something the House of Commons will accept either".

"The economic and constitutional dislocation of a formal "third country" customs border within our own country is something I will never accept and I believe no British Prime Minister could ever accept", May is to tell a crowd at Belfast's Waterfront Hall on Friday, according to the extracts of the speech provided by her office.

May is still reeling from the resignation last week of former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who in parliament on Wednesday singled out her treatment of the border as the biggest mistake of her negotiations with the European Union for a smooth exit from the bloc next year.

Mrs May will promote the Chequers plan, and a subsequent government white paper, as the way to the stronger and brighter tomorrow.

"And, on that basis, I look forward to resuming constructive discussions".

He said: "We are preparing for a change in the rules of trade between Britain and Ireland in January 2021".

"It is not for the Irish government to comment on the internal politics and legislative processes of the United Kingdom... what matters is that the British government is able to engage in serious negotiations with the commission".

"What we saw yesterday was more debacle and chaos in the Tory party, infighting continues as we approach a critical time in Brexit negotiations", she said.

Mrs May will talk to political representatives from Sinn Fein, the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and Alliance on Friday morning, before meeting young people to hear their views on Northern Ireland's future.

The Conservatives leader will speak to businesses in the region about the challenges posed by Brexit.

The Irish government, which has said it has concerns about May's white paper, on Friday said a backstop was essential, but could be renegotiated so long as it was better than the current deal and legally operable.

Her solution to the border issue is future partnership between Britain and the EU.

The message to the European Union has to be, "this is the final offer".

"It is fully accepted and understood that there can be no withdrawal agreement without a legally operable backstop ensuring that there will be no hard border", he said.



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