Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #Backstop

Most recents (24)

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt claimed last weekend Angela Merkel was willing to renegotiate the #Brexit deal since he had spoken personally to the German Chancellor. I checked his claims with a government spokesman in Berlin (thread):…
1/Hunt said he had talked to Merkel on the fringe of D-Day commemoration. The spokesman did not want to confirm any content 'since all conversations of the Chancellor are confident'
2/Acc to Hunt Merkel had stated 'with a new British PM the Europeans would certainly look at all solutions'. Berlin however points to Merkel's statement at the #Brexit Council April 10: EU27 'have again underlined that the Withdrawal Agreement applies and will not be changed...'
Read 7 tweets
Adding my t'pence worth to commentary from @DavidHenigUK & @MichaelAodhan on ERG's 'Clean & Managed Brexit' report today.
It's notable that, of the list of amendments they wish to see to Withdrawal Agreement, none are specific to Protocol on IRL/NI containing the #backstop 👇1/3
This is what it wants for @BorderIrish in a future UK-EU 'FTA Plus'.
So. A few Qs:
- what does a 'compliant' border mean in this case?
- does it mean tech that isn't new to Irish border, or tech that exists elsewhere?
- same for 'currently available' admin & tech procedures.
A 'seamless border' is an oxymoron.

Read 3 tweets
Sir Graham Brady plans to table an amendment the Withdrawal Agmt (WA) bill to make it law that Alternative Arrangements (AA) to the #backstop must be in place by end of transition period.
So, he says, the backstop wd still be in WA text but it wd be clear it'll never be used.
Brady says the proposal would simply be bringing forward the #AlternativeArrangements from the Political Declaration up front in the UK legislation implementing the WA.

The rationale is that by making backstop unusable, it will create a majority for the WA in the Commons.
Brady says EU & UK govt have to recognise that his AA amendment is only means of passing WA.

He admits he is yet to persuade the PM but claims that "Downing Street has people actively engaged in looking for alternative arrangements" to the #backstop.

Read 7 tweets
Amid speculation that Varadkar is under pressure from Macron & Merkel to manage a harder @BorderIrish in a #NoDeal, let's recall UK govt's own 'solution' = effectively to have no controls NI/IRL & *more* GB/NI.

Who can think that serious, responsible, sustainable or good for NI?
Outside the EU with #NoDeal, @BorderIrish separates the UK from the EU's customs union & single market. New rules apply.
As any parent knows, rules are there for a reason. Ignoring them does not make them irrelevant. It exposes you to risk & makes you an awkward pain in the ass.
Q. How to manage this if applying the rules also brings risks?
A. Adjust the rules.

This can't be done unilaterally [pointless for a 2-sided border].
#Backstop = an example. Flexibility on both sides means that having as few controls as poss. NI/IRL & GB/NI is *within* the rules
Read 3 tweets
That moment when the attorney general of the UK in #brexit debate talking about the #backstop, makes the case for Scotland to hold a second independence referendum to leave the United Kingdom. In England parliament is sovereign, in Scotland, the people are. | #scotref #indyref2
"If fundamental circumstances change, in the view of the United Kindom Then it would attempt to resolve the matter in the joint committee. It would attempt to resolve it politically. But if ultimately the sovereign right of this house and the sovereign right of the british....
... government at the time, if it took the view that indeed those fundamental circumstances had indeed changed, then it has an undoubted legal right to withdraw from ANY treaty." - Attorney General
Read 6 tweets
So the Westminster NI Committee has issued its #Brexit #Backstop report - a Friday Night Special. What's in it?

Less and More...
They acknowledge that the four non-DUP parties in NI are happy enough with the Backstop as is, but say that parliament isn't. They want something else.
1. A "justiciable" (how?) change in the Political Declaration to say that the WA isn't the baseline for the future relationship/
2. They want the EU & UK to agree and clarify what a hard border actually means in the next three days (before Tuesday). Good luck with that one, lads
Read 7 tweets
To summarise results from the @IrishTimes/MRBI poll:

Opinions in NI on #Brexit:
- overwhelmingly reject a hard Brexit; 67% want UK to stay in CU & SM
- wd vote to remain in a 2nd ref
- wd prefer checks on goods btn GB&NI than checks on @BorderIrish.

Opinions in IRL on #Brexit:
- 54% satisfied with Irish govt handling of Brexit
- but almost equal split on whether should compromise on #backstop
[cf. @skynews poll]
- also split btn those saying checks on goods going to EU wd be preferable to those going across the border.

On a #BorderPoll:
- rising support for border poll (36% inc 55% of Catholics)
- see graphs below [can't assume preference re: Irish unity on basis of religious denomination]
- in the Republic: 49% say there should be a referendum on Irish unity, & 62% would vote in favour.
Read 4 tweets
@MichelBarnier, addressing a Spanish audience, cuts to the chase: withdrawal agreement is the best possible for citizens and budget but also for aviation and fisheries.
The UK has grossly underestimated the consequences of #Brexit, says Barnier. It will need to build up a whole new administration in very little time.
#GibraltarWatch: Barnier, in Madrid: “There is a protocol to the Withdrawal Agreement saying what will happen with #Gibraltar.” Now, moving on to the more important question of Ireland...
Read 9 tweets
In an effort to show why it is hard to explain what's happening #Brexit wise in UK at the moment, I made some slightly whimsical opening remarks to the @IIEA #CountdowntoBrexit event today.

They are the ‘Illogical Truths’ of Brexit.
(to be taken with a dash of salt 🧂)
1. The UK has not yet come to terms with leaving the EU.

It hasn't got to grips with nature of the other side (despite being there 40+yrs).
Nor with the process (e.g. future negos still to come).
& it hasn't come to terms with consequences of leaving (e.g. border controls).
2. The #backstop per se is not The Problem, but the sheer fact that it is a compromise.

And a compromise is inevitable.
Plus backstop is rarely discussed in light of NI/IRL needs but in terms of what it means for future UK-EU rel'ship - which it is not intended to determine.
Read 6 tweets
Dear journalists, politicians & intelligent folks:
Seven questions you should ask anyone who purports to have an alternative ‘solution’ to the @BorderIrish #Brexit #Backstop:

1. Where is this technology/system used at the moment across a land border? (specific examples please)
How long & populated is that border?
How many crossing points? [How many 'designated' for customs?]
How many goods vehicles & private vehicles cross that border everyday?
2. What amount of paperwork/info (inc. in electronic format) is required on the goods crossing the border in order for this tech/system to function effectively?
How far in advance?
How is the connection between the data submitted & the goods crossing the border verified?
Read 8 tweets
Theresa May's machiavelic plans have to stop.

If she really believes her negotiations are that Strong and Stable, she should stop this embarrassing political circus and openly go for her No-Deal #Brexit plan, instead of sneakily engineering it.

We know that's your plan. 1/10
When she decided to put forward her support to #BradyAmendment, she knew it would be rejected by the EU negotiators.
It was even said yesterday before she decided to support it.
But it is a sneaky way to put forward a No-Deal #Brexit and later putting the blame on the EU. 2/10
The #Backstop was negotiated BY the UK to comply with UK's red lines:
✔ No hard border (#GoodFridayAgreement)
❌ No customs unions
❌ No single market
❌ No freedom of movement
The EU wanted a soft #Brexit. So no Backstop. 3/10
Read 12 tweets
A quick thread on May’s statement, for the bedtime tweeters.
Ignore the claim there are 6 key issues.

All that is worth looking at is what she says she will not do;
what she says she will do;
+ what she says might do.

TL;DR: There is no Plan B.

What she won’t do:
Revoke Art. 50 (that’s just rude);
Extend Art.50 (so No Deal remains live);
Call a 2nd referendum (she doubts it’ll win)*

* Though she doesn't completely rule out the possibility of Parliament bringing this forward.

What she might do post-Brexit:
Take lessons from her mistakes in these negotiations when it comes to negotiating the future relationship.
She’ll be more inclusive: ‘engaging’ with elected reps from NI (and [randomly] English regions), & businesses & other normal people.

Read 12 tweets
Breve hilo sobre lo que se viene esta semana en Reino Unido sobre el #Brexit
El 25 de noviembre el Consejo Europeo (reunión de Jefes de Estado y Gobierno de miembros de la Unión Europea), dio su visto bueno al ACUERDO DE SALIDA del Reino Unido de la UE y a la Declaración que establece ciertas luces de lo que será el futuro de las relaciones entre ambos
Este acuerdo se llegó tras 20 meses de difíciles negociaciones entre el equipo de la Comisión Europea liderado por @MichelBarnier y el equipo negociador británico liderado en un comienzo por David Davis (renunció después)
Read 33 tweets
Today UK govt published its unilateral 'commitments to Northern Ireland & its integral place in the UK'.
I'd read it not just as an effort to get unionists on board #WithdrawalAgmt but a nod towards post-Brexit governance.
Here’s an ‘essentials’ guide..
It comes on the 2nd anniversary of the collapse of the NI Executive.
I really hope that isn’t a coincidence.
& if it isn't, it's a pointed reminder to those who claim to be concerned abt the representation of NI that they cd put more effort into getting Stormont up & running.
The DUP came out quickly to reject it, underwhelmed & unconvinced.
Others will be too, but we cdn’t expect detail or substance on commitments at this stage.
(Besides, perhaps it's a duty of politicians in NI to bring forward proposals re: enhancing representation of NI..?)
Read 12 tweets
1/ Another customs thread. This time on #customs formalities and #Backstop . Backstop envisages a #customsunion with simplifications. It mentions that a movement certificate, A.UK, will be required. No mention of customs declarations.
2/ Movement certificate demonstrates that goods are eligible for trade under a customs union. Is certified by e.g. a Chamber of Commerce. Declarations do more than that. They are entered into the national customs system and enable customs authorities to collect customs data.
3/ Much more info on a declaration than on a movement cert. Some of the most important fields include commodity code, value of goods, country of origin and customs procedure. Would imagine the UK would still like to collect this data for various reasons even under backstop.
Read 9 tweets
Here we go: Very initial impressions of the #WithdrawalAgreement's Protocol on NI/IRL #backstop, drawing heavily on UK Explainer of the same. 1/8
First, some general points I think are worth noting, mainly about how the UK is trying to frame it & what has changed in the Preamble to the #Protocol.
To the #backstop, which is now about avoiding north/south AND east/west barriers... at least at face value.
UK keen to emphasise its temporary nature & unlikely implementation.
Initial decision on whether it comes into force will have to be made by 1 July 2020 & by the UK.
Read 8 tweets
Brexiters stress Supreme Court verdict that consent in #GFA only re UK v UI vote & not Brexit. Insisted no devolved consent re Withdrawal Act. But now pretend that EU-Ireland #backstop terms for Brexit compatibility with GFA (as consented N&S) would violate consent principle.
"Belfast Agreement underpins NI's constitutional settlement"- DDavis. #Backstop to underpin #GFA North-South/all-island dimension & not undermine access to GB markets, UK cooperation or constitutional status. Concession of continued NI ambidextrous trade flows not control by EU!
If we cannot trust UK government & compulsive British-DUP Brexit imperatives to keep #backstop as written & agreed to reflect #GFA, what could we rely on without NI/N-S specific provisos? Certainly not a temporary UK compact to be distorted & discarded at their capricious whim.
Read 3 tweets
Tonight at 2200 on @skynews i’ve been in the port of Larne, Northern Ireland with Daisy the cow, who could save the Brexit Deal or imperil the Union, depending on your view...#backstop #borderforcows
in the Northern Ireland port town of Larne, one of the places where Irish Sea checks would be required under EU Ireland Brexit backstop proposal, currently being negotiated in Brussels..
and one of the places where checks actually already happen on animal trade between Sco & NI
Barnier mentioned these existing “Irish Sea” checks as a precedent yesterday - but would have to be tenfold increase for backstop...DUP source said this was building “an entire edifice” on some foot & mouth checks for cows..MEP Diane Dodds said checks on lasagne as well as cows
Read 6 tweets
A 'Greatest Hits' collection of slides on #Brexit & @BorderIrish

[for those covering the topic in weeks to come
& who might value a few prompt cards] 🤓

Inc. @BelfastAgmt, #crossborder #customs #backstop #chequers #BorderTech, NI party & public views.…
1998 Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement

Risks to peace process

Read 12 tweets
Getting the feeling that there's too much #brexit #backstop bravado and too little sense?

Howsabout a 4 slide summary from @DPhinnemore & me setting out what we can be pretty sure of and what the UK/EU (dis)agree on - as viewed from Northern Ireland.

1st: a lack of progress on the Protocol on NI/IRL in the draft Withdrawal Agmt.
All these colours have to turn green (i.e. agreed in principle & text) before we get that Deal for exit day next March.

Note that red circle - backstop is intended to be trumped at some point.
2nd: a summary of what is agreed on and what is still missing re: @BorderIrish and NI.
Note the extent of Northern Ireland-specific arrangements.

You've seen a version of this a couple of months ago. Not much progress here since you last saw it.

Read 6 tweets
104 pages of the #Brexit #WhitePaper reduced to 10 slides.
Especially for those concerned for @BorderIrish, @BelfastAgmt,
& with more sense than time.

@DPhinnemore & I have scrutinised the WP in light of #JointReport commitments to NI/IRL & the UK's alternative #backstop.
A bit of context-setting (plus explanation of our imaginative colour coding).

The White Paper is in part an effort by UK govt to prove a NI-specific #backstop to be unnecessary. But remember Protocol for NI/IRL in the Withdrawal Agmt is abt much more than a customs border.

A reminder of where we are up to on that Protocol on NI/IRL in the draft Withdrawal Agreement.

With added stars 🌟 to identify which bits the White Paper attempts to address (or negate) most directly.

Read 11 tweets
First blatant non-sequitur of the #WhitePaper: FTA will give continued frictionless access at the UK/EU border.

Unless working assumption is that the 'friction' can be managed 'away from' the border, which is a distinct possibility.
Will keep reading...
It's a 'free trade area', but not as we know it.
Both 'the letter & the spirit' of @BelfastAgmt to be honoured in #Brexit.
The UK will agree an operational legal text for a #backstop for NI... but will negotiate a future partnership that ensures that this will not have to be used.
In keeping with Joint Report of 8th Dec.17
Read 5 tweets
Here's a thread on the #Brexit #Backstop, the #Border and NI/IRL,
in which I try to succinctly explain why I think the UK govt has got itself in an unnecessary pickle on this one,
& how it might get out of it.

The Protocol is intended as ‘insurance’ in case a future UK-EU agreement is insufficient to meet the commitments made in the Joint Report In that sense it is *already* conditional & envisaged as temporary.
It is a backstop, not a precursor.

The Protocol is the EU showing most flexibility (cherrypicking) *for* Northern Ireland in the very areas that the UK is finding hard to swallow, i.e. NI being in a Common Regulatory Area and the Customs Territory of the EU.

Read 11 tweets
5 slides on the #Brexit #Backstop for Northern Ireland/Ireland from @DPhinnemore and me.

1. Why there will be a Backstop in the Withdrawal Agreement.
Plus a synopsis of the EU and UK positions on the matter.

(Thread 1/6)
2. What is already agreed (green), agreed in principle (yellow), and not agreed (white) in the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland in the draft EU Withdrawal Agreement.…
3. What has been offered in writing from the UK government on this Backstop (Protocol).
Ref. the Technical Note on Temporary Customs Arrangements published today.…
Read 7 tweets

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