Northern Irish kingmakers demand 'toxic' Brexit backstop be replaced

Theresa May promises to deliver Brexit that ‘honours’ UK’s commitments to Northern Ireland

He said: "A lot of people out there want to frustrate the democratic will of the British people who voted to leave the European Union and because I'm a prominent Brexiteer in the Cabinet who backs the Prime Minister's deal I'm a lightning rod for the anti-Brexit brigade".

May came out against such an extension earlier on Tuesday, The Guardian reported.

"I will not do anything to put that at risk", she said.

The EU will not renegotiate the divorce deal and the Irish backstop but alternatives could be worked on after Britain leaves, chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier said on Monday.

Mrs May continued, "The issue that has always been one that parliament has raised - it has been raised across all sides of the House of Commons - is the potential indefinite nature of the backstop".

Alongside the Prime Minister's concerns about the "potentially indefinite nature of the backstop", Tory MPs are afraid renegotiations would undermine the Malthouse compromise.

The EU has repeatedly said it will not amend the backstop, but Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz suggested the bloc could agree to some form of legal assurances on how it might be used.

Downing Street today confirmed she will meet EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker this Thursday, when she will seek to persuade him to change the backstop arrangement.




Her speech comes after MPs delivered a resounding defeat to May's withdrawal agreement in December, over a key measure created to prevent a hard border in Ireland.

Clark himself told the Financial Times that Nissan told him their decision was "a warning sign" of the damage that a no-deal Brexit could have on Britain's vehicle sector. However, even this has been ruled out previously by European Union negotiators who say the backstop must be "all weather". He said the government was working with "urgency" on border solutions.

On Tuesday, May gave a speech in Belfast, where she pledged to not leave Northern Ireland behind during her discussions in Brussels. Mrs May said pledges made in the joint report in December 2017 were made in "good faith" and said the British government will honour the principles of the Good Friday Agreement.

The leader of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party which props up British Prime Minister Theresa May's minority government said the Irish backstop in her Brexit deal was toxic but she could back the agreement if it was replaced.

The row comes as the prime minister sets up a new committee of Conservative MPs created to work on "alternative arrangements" to the backstop.

But Ms May wrote in the Sunday Telegraph that she would be "battling for Britain and Northern Ireland" in her efforts to get rid of the agreement's unpopular backstop provision.

Work and Pensions Secretary, Amber Rudd, urged Mrs May to be "straight" with the British public about the national security implications of a no-deal Brexit.

DUP leader Arlene Foster blasted the PM's plans, commenting that the proposed backstop would create a trade division between Northern Ireland and the UK.

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