01 March 2018 - Brexit and Northern Ireland
Brexit: Customs checks could be imposed between Great Britain and Northern Ireland to avoid hard border, EU says
Jon Stone (The Independent, 28/02/2018)
The UK could impose customs checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland to solve the Brexit Irish border issue, the European Union’s chief negotiator has said.
Michel Barnier told reporters in Brussels he did not believe such checks would amount to a border across British territory, adding: “Somewhere in airports and ports there would be controls, but I would not refer to a border.”
Mr Barnier said the plan, a backstop for solving the issue of the Irish border if another solution cannot be found, would not infringe on “the constitutional or institutional order of the UK” – despite claims by Brexiteers it amounted to the EU “annexing” Northern Ireland.
Theresa May rejects EU's draft option for Northern Ireland
An EU proposal for the Northern Ireland border threatens the "constitutional integrity" of the United Kingdom, Theresa May has said.
The EU's draft legal agreement proposes a "common regulatory area" after Brexit on the island of Ireland - in effect keeping Northern Ireland in a customs union - if no other solution is found.
Mrs May said "no UK prime minister could ever agree" to this.
Boris Johnson’s sickening comments typify Brexiteers’ approach to Ireland
Frances O'Grady (The Guardian, 28/02/2018)
As we approach the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement, it’s sickening to see hard Brexiteers like Boris Johnson undermining it.
That a British foreign secretary would compare the boundary between London boroughs to the border on the island of Ireland speaks volumes. His comments showcase the cavalier approach this government has taken to the Northern Irish peace process.
The threats facing Northern Ireland – of a hard border and the unravelling of the Good Friday agreement – are the product of the government’s own self-defeating red lines, and the reckless demands of the hard Brexiteers. And while they’re quick to attack the position of the European commission, which is published in a draft legal document today, ministers haven’t offered any substantial alternative.
Brexit, Northern Ireland and John Major
Gary Gibbon (Channel 4 News, 28/02/2018)
In one sense nothing has changed. The U.K. agreed to the backstop position on N Ireland in December. The document shaken on then is titled a “Joint report” from the UK and the EU. The UK signed up to every paragraph including paragraph 50 which spelt out that if other agreements can’t be come to then Northern Ireland would stay in the EU Customs Union even as the rest of the UK left and it would stay subject to EU courts and other EU rules too.
But as one Cabinet minister told me today, that was signed up to “in the spirit of kicking the can down the road.” The EU believe the UK-proffered solutions look to them like a fanciful belief in technology which would invisibly monitor trade across the border or a blind faith that the EU will let the current customs relationship continue after the UK has left the EU Customs Union.