Published On: Fri, Aug 23rd, 2019

Brexit latest: Boris Johnson | Politics | News

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has invited Boris Johnson to propose alternatives to Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement, specifically over the long disputed Irish backstop. But such a solution seems hard to come by, as after three years politicians have been unable to break the Brexit impasse. One Tory MP claims to have found the answer however, in his 272 page secret report.

Tory MP Greg Hands has recommended a series of alternatives to the Irish backstop, to prevent a hard border between Ireland and the rest of the UK.

He said the report, a product of the Alternative Arrangements Commission, recommends “a series of administrative and technological measures”, such as a tier trusted trader scheme similar to the one between the US and Canada.

Such a scheme would allow firms to cut down on paperwork and avoid routine customs checks at the border.

The recommendations also included checking food and animal exports away from the border and putting in place tax breaks and a free trade zone for Irish towns close to the border.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Mr Hands said: “Our Commission concluded that alternative arrangements are the way to break the Brexit deadlock.

“It is not realistic to believe they can all be up and running by October 31 but that is no reason to be discouraged. Many of the measures can be brought in quite quickly.”


9.32am update: Pound falls despite yesterday’s strong gains 

The sterling fell back in the red again this morning, as doubts about Brexit backstop continue to grow. 

It fell 0.28 percent against the dollar to $1.227 and 0.18 percent against the euro to €1.104. 

9.10am update: Philip Hammond is reportedly organising talks with Brussels

The former chancellor is reportedly organising private talks with European leaders in a bid to ensure any legislation forcing the Government to seek an extension to Article 50 is backed by Brussels.

Mr Hammond has joined forced with other Tory rebels in a bit to force the Government to see an extension to Article 50 and according to The Times he is meeting with EU contacts to see whether an extension could be mutually agreeable.

One unnamed MP told the newspaper: “The next step is likely to be something that seeks to direct the Government to seek an extension.

“They will need to have an idea of what extension they should be asking Brussels for.”

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8.10am update: EU shows ‘can-do’ attitude over new Brexit deal

Former Tory minister Tobias Ellwood has said the EU are showing more of a “can-do attitude” towards re-negotiating the Withdrawal Agreement.

Speaking to BBC’s Newsnight programme, he said: “We saw here, both in Berlin and indeed in Paris, a can-do attitude, a body language, a new rapport developing.”

He added: “I am more optimistic about us securing a deal now than I ever have been since March 2019, and we have been given that window, that critical window of 30 days to provide what is the detailed micro concern about the backstop itself, and that is what we have got to prove, and that is what the Prime Minister will be doing.”

Mr Ellwood said it is a “gamechanger” that both Mr Macron and Ms Merkel have shown flexibility on a potential deal.

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