Address the solution to the Irish border at the outset of negotiations


Howard Shore writes in a letter to the editor:

The Irish government confirmed this week that the backstop is simply a device to prevent a clean Brexit, when an official spokesperson said: “If there is a hard Brexit, there will be some form of checks. But it won’t be a check on the border. It will be a check on the factory floor, goods in transit or in ports.”

This is precisely the solution put forward by Brexiteers to facilitate frictionless trade and prevent a hard border. If the Irish government accepts this as a feasible solution for a no-deal Brexit, why is the backstop needed? Why can’t this system be introduced in a managed fashion as we negotiate a free-trade agreement during the transition period?

This official has revealed that the real reason for the backstop is to keep Britain in the EU’s existing regulatory framework for as long as possible – first, to force us to continue to follow its rules, and, secondly, to weaken our negotiating position.

If the Prime Minister manages to get her deal, or a revised version, through Parliament, it is vital that we insist on addressing a solution to the border issue at the outset, rather than allowing it to be left to December 2020. It’s key to a successful Brexit.

The letter was first published in The Telegraph on Sunday 31 March 2019.