Published On: Thu, Aug 22nd, 2019

BBC Newsnight: Brexiteer Daniel Hannan destroys EU as Johnson meets with Merkel | UK | News

Mr Johnson travelled to Berlin on Wednesday to meet with the German Chancellor in order to discuss any potential alternatives to the contentious Irish backstop. Ahead of his trip, Mr Johnson issued a letter to EU leaders where he warned that for any deal to take place, the Irish backstop must be removed. Instantly, some criticised Mr Johnson for his demands for lacking any substantive alternatives.

French President, Emmanuel Macron insisted that the current Brexit deal cannot be renegotiated.

However, in defence of the UK, MEP and prominent Brexiteer Daniel Hannan savaged the EU’s negotiating position.

Mr Hannan said on BBC Newsnight: “Effectively, what the EU is now saying, and this is highly illogical, ‘unless you do all these things which we claim are about avoiding a border, we will put in a border’.

“When that’s the negotiating position, you’ve got to wonder if that is done in goodwill.”

Although Mr Johnson constantly warned that the UK will leave the EU by October with or without a deal, those threats have been widely met with deaf ears.

Echoing Mr Macron’s previous sentiments, President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, warned that the backstop must remain in any withdrawal agreement as it is merely “insurance to avoid a hard border”.

Mr Tusk said: “The backstop is an insurance to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland unless and until an alternative is found.

“Those against the backstop and not proposing realistic alternatives in fact support re-establishing a border.

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“But we could also find one in the next 30 days, why not?”

In response to Ms Merkel, the Prime Minister conveyed his willingness to her proposal to find a new solution, and quickly.

Mr Johnson insisted that he was “glad” to hear Ms Merkel’s comments and also welcomed the “blistering timetable”.

The backstop has become such a contentious issue as it would mean Northern Ireland staying aligned to certain EU rules of the single market.

Moreover, it would mean that the would UK stay in a single customs territory with the EU, and align with current and future EU rules on competition and state aid.

Due to those stated arrangements, it would be down to the UK and the EU to remain within both until there both agree they were no longer necessary.

Such a scenario has been labeled as “anti-democratic” by Mr Johnson.

Speaking on Mr Johnson’s desire to remove the backstop, one French official, said: “If the UK considers that having a backstop is absolutely excluded, that is its right, but in that case it limits the possibility of reaching an agreement.”

Following his meeting with Ms Merkel, the Prime Minister will then meet with Mr Macron today.

The meeting comes ahead of the G7 Summit in Biarritz this weekend.

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