Published On: Wed, Aug 28th, 2019

Brexit news: Ireland accuses Boris Johnson of backstop ‘rewrite’ – ‘Not even close!’ | UK | News

Simon Coveney, Ireland’s deputy prime minister, dismissed a drive to find alternative solutions to prevent customs checks on the border after Brexit. In an effort to limit any EU compromise, he went on to say that British proposals are yet to come close to fulfilling the needs of the backstop. He insisted the Irish government would continue to ramp up its no deal preparations in the coming weeks.

On a trip to the Czech Republic, Mr Coveney said: “Now we have a new prime minister, who is essentially looking to rewrite the rules as regards to that particular solution and that is threatening a no deal, having worked so hard to get a deal in place.

“I think we need to be honest here that the alternative arrangements that have been discussed to date do not do the same job as the backstop – not even close.

“So let’s not pretend that solutions exist when they might not, and so there needs to be a deal done on the basis of honesty in terms of there issue and the complexity of what we’re facing.”

Ireland has warned the “risk of a no-deal Brexit is growing” as preparations continue for Britain leaving without an agreement.

Finance minister Paschal Donohue said the country would next month make a judgement on the most likely scenario.

“As we look at the unfolding situation in the UK, the risk of a no-deal Brexit is growing,” he said.

Culture minister Joseph Madigan claimed there could be a deal at the final minute if Mr Johnson shows a willingness to compromise.

Mr Johnson has told EU leaders that he expects them to support his effort to scrap the backstop measure if there is going to be any chance of a Brexit deal.

MUST READ: Juncker tells Boris: EU will do ‘everything it can’ to stop no deal

Yesterday, on a diplomatic blitz, the Prime Minister contacted no fewer than six EU leaders, including European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, to further brief them on his Brexit plans.

A Government spokesman said: “The Prime Minister spoke to the President of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker by phone this evening. They had a positive and substantive conversation, where the Prime Minister updated Jean Claude Juncker on his recent discussions with EU leaders, including at the G7.

“The Prime Minister set out that the UK will be leaving the EU on October 31, whatever the circumstances, and that we absolutely want to do so with a deal. The PM was also clear however that unless the Withdrawal Agreement is reopened and the backstop abolished there is no prospect of that deal.

“The Prime Minister reiterated his commitment to Belfast/Good Friday Agreement in all its parts. He underlined the importance of ensuring the peace, prosperity and security of Northern Ireland and said that we will never place infrastructure, checks, or controls at the border.

“The leaders noted that their teams would continue their informal discussions and they agreed to remain in touch.”

Mr Juncker signalled a readiness to listen to the Prime Minister’s backstop strategy, insisting the EU would do everything in its power to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

However, the chief eurocrat maintained that Britain would have to shoulder the blame if the country leaves the bloc without a deal.

A European Commission spokeswoman said: “This afternoon, President Juncker spoke to Prime Minister Johnson on the phone. The call followed their first exchange on July 25 and was an opportunity for the two to touch base after the G7 summit.

“President Juncker repeated his willingness to work constructively with Prime Minister Johnson and to look at any concrete proposals he may have, as long as they are compatible with the Withdrawal Agreement.

“President Juncker underlined that the EU27’s support for Ireland is steadfast and that the EU will continue to be very attentive to Ireland’s interests.

“Finally, he recalled that while the EU is fully prepared for a ‘no-deal’ scenario, it will do everything it can to avoid such a situation. A ‘no-deal’ scenario will only ever be the UK’s decision, not the EU’s.”

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