London, Aug. 20, 2019 The European Union needs to show flexibility over the Irish border “backstop” because the issue of whether Britain leaves the bloc with or without a deal is now mainly up to Brussels, Conservative Party Chairman, James Cleverly, said on Tuesday.
“The decision as to whether we leave with or without a deal is largely now in the hands of European Union negotiators,’’ Cleverly said.
The “Irish backstop” is effectively an insurance policy in UK-EU Brexit negotiations.
It’s meant to make sure that the Irish border remains open (as it is today) whatever the outcome of the UK and the EU’s negotiations about their future relationship after Brexit.
The backstop is part of the draft withdrawal agreement negotiated between Theresa May’s government and the EU.
Under the draft withdrawal agreement, the UK would enter a “transition period” after Brexit (currently timetabled to be Oct. 31) until, at the latest, December 2022.
He said that the EU’s insistence on the so-called backstop was the main sticking point in reaching a deal.
“We will be leaving on Oct. 31 come what May and I think the recognition of that will help the EU negotiators understand what they need to do. (Reuters/NAN)