Published On: Thu, Aug 22nd, 2019

Brexit news: Irish politician lashes out at Boris Johnson over backstop | UK | News

Phil Hogan accused the Prime Minister of gambling with the Irish peace process and said his push for a no-deal Brexit would have “serious consequences” for Britain. He added Britain leaving the European Union without an agreement would create a “foul atmosphere”. This would seriously harm future trading prospects between the two parties, Mr Hogan, who has been nominated for a second term in the European Commission, added.

During a speech in Ireland, Mr Hogan said: “If the UK fails to prevent a crash-out Brexit they should be under no illusion regarding the foul atmosphere they will create with their EU partners and the serious consequences this will have for negotiating any future trade agreement.

“The UK continues to negotiate based on its experience of being an EU member.

“This misses the point completely: from the moment the UK came back to Brussels with the infamous red lines, the EU has negotiated on the basis of the UK opting for third-country status.

“Prime Minister Johnson’s hero is Winston Churchill and he seems to view himself as a modern-day Churchill.

“However, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK Government’s only Churchillian legacy will be: never have so far done so much damage to so many.”

The Irish bureaucrat said Mr Johnson’s description of the anti-democratic backstop “seems strange coming from an unelected prime minister”.

Mr Hogan said both the UK and EU would suffer in the event of a no deal, but insisted Brussels will “not buckle” in the face of any threats.

“We will hold the line,” he said. But, the European Commission would welcome any proposals made by Britain as long as they are “compatible with the existing withdrawal agreement”.

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He said the UK had “signed up to the backstop in a legally binding agreement and now it must honour its word”.

“The UK Government needs to take responsibility for its choices before it is too late,” Mr Hogan said.

Mr Johnson accused the EU of a “deliberate personal attack” in the wake the Irish commissioner’s speech.

A government source told the Times that Brussels was “playing games”, adding: “Deliberate personal attacks like this are just the kind of negotiation ploy that led to the failure to secure a deal last time.

“The backstop is toxic and would leave the EU in control of laws and taxes without any democratic accountability.

“If the EU is genuinely keen to negotiate a deal, it will recognise this.”

Mr Johnson has called on EU leaders to consider a legal commitment to avoid customs checks on the Irish border while negotiators work on a permanent solution throughout the transition period.

The Prime Minister has insisted the backstop must be scrapped from the current withdrawal agreement if there is to be any chance of a deal.

Speaking alongside Angela Merkel last night on his first foreign trip as Prime Minister, Mr Johnson said: “We do need that backstop removed.

“But if we can do that then I’m absolutely certain we can move forward together. I have watched a lot of European negotiations. It looks at first it is irresistible force and immovable object. In my experience we find a way through.”

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