Merkel backs high-tech backstop proposal to rescue Brexit

Merkel backs high-tech backstop proposal to rescue Brexit

Merkel backs high-tech backstop proposal to rescue Brexit

She told an audience in Belfast that her commitment to avoiding such an arrangement was "unshakeable".

May said she would seek a pragmatic solution when she tries to reopen talks with Brussels though Brexit-supporting lawmakers in her Conservative Party have warned they will vote against her deal unless there are substantial changes.

But many pro-Brexit British lawmakers fear the backstop will trap Britain in regulatory lockstep with the European Union, and say they won't vote for the European Union divorce deal unless it is removed.

It follows a day in which the Prime Minister faced hard questions on the economy, as new data indicated the uncertainty over Brexit could be leading to a slowdown.

One minister told the Times that while May had to pay "lip service" to the plan, it could not work because: "It doesn't protect the Good Friday agreement, it isn't practical for business and it is not negotiable with Europe".

"I'm determined to deliver Brexit, and determined to deliver on time - on March 29, 2019", she wrote.

Northern Ireland also voted narrowly in favor of remaining in the European Union in 2016's referendum.

"If the backstop is dealt with in the Withdrawal Agreement... we will support the prime minister".

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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.

Plans for Britain to leave the bloc on March 29 under a withdrawal agreement signed past year were thrown into doubt when British lawmakers rejected the accord.

The Alternative Arrangements Working Group (AAWG), a new initiative made up of pro-remain Conservatives and members of the European Research Group (ERG), a group of lawmakers who lobby for a harder Brexit, was set to meet May for the first time on Monday to flesh out alternatives to the backstop, the insurance policy created to maintain a soft border in Ireland should future talks with the EU collapse, Efe news agency reported on Monday.

The plans, first devised in 1962 after the Cuban missile crisis and approved the following year, have now been revived by senior civil servants involved in contingency planning for Operation Yellowhammer, the battle plan for what happens in the event of a no deal when border arrangements with the European Union will be thrown into chaos.

At present the EU's approach to no-deal has been to leave arrangements to each country individually and details of a new French no-deal law on British people's rights are expected tomorrow.

"He asked us whether or not a letter which would be legally binding might be sufficient, but I think we would need to see what that contained to have an absolute assurance that it does give us an exit", Whittingdale said.

DUP leader Arlene Foster told BBC on Tuesday that "the current backstop" was toxic "to those of us living in Northern Ireland, and indeed for unionists right across the United Kingdom, because it would cause the break-up of the United Kingdom into the medium and longer term". But with the risk of no-deal looming larger, by simple virtue of time marching on, perhaps behind closed doors the EU's dealmakers are looking for ways out.

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