Published On: Tue, Aug 20th, 2019

Boris Johnson rips apart Irish backstop in brutal blow-by-blow attack on May’s Brexit deal | Politics | News


The abrupt letter outlined Mr Johnson demands on the Irish backstop as he brutally picks apart Mrs May’s deal, which suffered three humiliating defeats in the House of Commons before she was forced to stand down as Prime Minister. The letter, sent earlier, outlines the Prime Minister’s desire to secure a deal with the EU and draws attention to the “uniquely deep ties” the UK has with the Republic of Ireland.

The letter read: “First, Ireland is the UK’s closest neighbour with whom we will continue to share uniquely deep ties, a land border, the Common Travel Area, and much else besides.

“We remain, as we have always been, committed to working with Ireland on the peace process, and to further Northern Ireland’s security and prosperity.

“We recognise the unique challenges the outcome of the referendum poses for Ireland, and want to find solutions to the border which work for all.

“Second, and flowing from the first, I want to re-emphasise the commitment of this Government to peace in Northern Ireland.

“The Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, as well as being an agreement between the UK and Ireland, is a historic agreement between two traditions in Northern Ireland, and we are unconditionally committed to the spirit and letter of our obligations under it in all circumstances – whether there is deal with the EU or not.”

However, the Prime Minister went on to lay down the law on what the UK wants from a renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement with the EU.

Mr Johnson called the backstop “anti-democratic and inconsistent with the sovereignty of the UK” and again said there would be no agreement signed which included the emergency measure.

Highlighting the importance of his point, the Prime Minister underlined statement in his letter to Mr Tusk.

He said: “The backstop locks the UK, potentially, indefinitely, into an international treaty which will bind us into a customs union and which applies large areas of single market legislation in Northern Ireland.

“It places a substantial regulatory border, rooted in that treaty, between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.”

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Mr Johnson suggested the backstop be replaced with a “commitment to put in place such arrangements as far as possible before the end of the transition period”.

Ending his letter to the President of the European Council, Mr Johnson sent a stern warning to his European counterparts.

He said: “Time is very short. But the UK is ready to move quickly, and, given the degree of common ground already, I hope that the EU will be ready to do likewise.”

Mr Johnson’s letter comes the same day he spoke to Ireland Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.

The two spoke on the phone for nearly an hour, sharing their perspective on the withdrawal agreement – and the Irish backstop. 

Mr Johnson used the phone call to once again reinforce his rejection of the backstop.

The pair agreed to meet early September to try and find a way to break the impasse in the Brexit process.



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