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Dodds welcomes Brexit backstop proposal as a 'step forward'

10 June, 2018, 09:00 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • A ferry arriving at the Port of Dover’s Eastern Docks in England

The EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, welcomed the publication of the plan, saying on Twitter that it would be examined with three questions in mind.

"Backstop means backstop", he said.

"Put simply, the Commission's position seems to be shooting itself in the foot to make sure the gun works", he said in a speech in London. "We are happy and ready to step up the frequency of our negotiations".

Under the EU's proposal Northern Ireland would "form part of our customs territory", he argued, noting: "What is feasible with a territory the size of Northern Ireland is not necessarily feasible with the whole United Kingdom".

At the same time the United Kingdom would be able to strike free trade agreements with other countries and to implement those elements which did not affect the functioning of the backstop. The UK aims to leave the single market and the customs union, without returning to a hard border on the island of Ireland.

And he questioned whether Mrs May's proposals would deliver an "all-weather backstop" fit for all circumstances.

And it calls for the arrangement to apply to the whole of Britain.

The issue continues to be a thorn in the side of Prime Minister Theresa May, as debate rumbles on about how best to avoid a hard border between the two Irelands. "We need regulatory alignment to avoid a hard border".

She's now struggling with how to square this pledge with her promise to keep trade at the Irish border flowing freely - and the conflict is a potential deal-breaker.

The campaign, Best For Britain, is urging British lawmakers to force a referendum on the deal - which is still to be secured by Prime Minister Theresa May with the European Union officials - before the country formally leaves the bloc. "How does that fit with the requirements of our Value-Added Tax system?"

Former Brexit minister David Jones told BBC Radio 4's Today show that continuing with the negotiations without Mr Davis would be "deeply upsetting and deeply unsafe for the country and David Davis needs to stay where he is".

"We are today at a time of decisions and choices".

If successful, the group says a "people's vote" on whether to accept the final deal - which would include the option of remaining in the European Union - could be held before Brexit in March 2019.

"If we want to build a new relationship, there needs to be more trust but also needs to be more realism about what is possible and not possible".

The survey also found that 28 percent of respondents who previously wanted Northern Ireland to remain a part of Britain had changed their mind and now wanted to join with Ireland following the 2016 Brexit referendum. We will not accept such a proposal.

Barnier also questopmed if the backstop would last.

Barnier's remarks in Brussels, following a new round of Brexit talks, come as tensions mount within the British government over how best to handle its departure, the first time an European Union member state has ever left the world's biggest trading bloc.

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