A fresh approach? Brexit demands a new style of politics and engagement

Geraldine Edwards
February 7, 2019

The so-called backstop is created to preserve the open border between Northern Ireland and EU member state Ireland in light of the fact that May has insisted that the United Kingdom does not remain either in the European single market or the customs union.

The Prime Minister is due to speak with European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker in the morning followed by a meeting with council President Donald Tusk to formally urge them to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement that was signed off before Christmas.

Britain's Parliament voted down the Brexit deal last month, largely because of concerns about a provision for the border between the U.K.'s Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland.

"We will find a way to deliver Brexit that honors our commitments to Northern Ireland", the prime minister said on Tuesday.

"We have told her that the British strategy of running down the clock and playing a game of chicken with Ireland and Irish interests is profoundly unacceptable and wrong".

Prime Minister Theresa May was gathering pro-Brexit and pro-EU Conservative lawmakers into an "alternative arrangements working group" seeking to break Britain's Brexit deadlock.

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The letter also said Britain would "seek to maintain the closest possible economic relationship between the United Kingdom and our European partners" and would try to ensure that carmakers' "ability to export to and from the EU is not adversely affected" by Brexit.

"The Taoiseach (prime minister) will use the opportunity once again to thank the institutions, and the other Member States, for their continuing support for Ireland", an Irish government statement said.

He added: "Alternative arrangements, they will never replace the backstop".

"Nobody in Ireland has consented to Brexit, the people of the north of Ireland voted to remain", she said.

There would also have to be no checks between Northern Ireland and the Irish Sea and Britain must be able to leave the alternative arrangement of its own accord, the MP said.

She said that she understands how "thousands of people" move back and forward between Northern Ireland and Ireland every day "to go to work, to see family, and to do their shopping".

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The lack of a clear road map led to a change to the Prime Minister's initial position ruling out renegotiation of the agreement with Europe and led her to support the amendment of the Conservative MP Brady in this regard, which were approved together with the help of the Unionists from Northern Ireland.

A statement to the House of Commons would not be enough, they added, pointing out that Lord Goldsmith's comments on the legal case for the Iraq War to the Lords were far more political and less explicit than his written advice for the government, the source added.

Across the industry "there are investments poised to be made if we can settle this question of the terms of our exit and future relationship", Clark said, before warning that a no-deal divorce from the European Union would be "ruinous for our prospects".

He said Britain's political instability was another proof of why the backstop was needed.

Brussels has consistently demanded the backstop as an insurance policy to ensure the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic remains regardless of future UK/EU relations.

Lord Trimble, for instance, who was first minister of Northern Ireland at the time of the Good Friday Agreement, earning him the Nobel Peace Prize, has previously said that any Brexit deal that leaves Northern Ireland with special status in the European Union would kill a key tenet of the 1998 peace accord - that there would be no constitutional change without majority consent in Northern Ireland.

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