Committee To Assess Implications For NI Of Theresa May's Brexit Deal

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has launched an inquiry into the implications of Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement on Northern Ireland.

The probe is set be wide-ranging but will place a specific focus on the mechanisms in place for avoiding the backstop.

The controversial provision is intended to prevent a hard border forming between Northern Ireland and the Republic in the event that the terms of the future UK-EU relationship are not finalised in time.

The Government's proposed agreement sets out plans for the "orderly withdrawal" and sets the clock on a 21-month transition period in which a full and complete Brexit will be established.

Chair of the Committee, Dr Andrew Murrison MP said: "The backstop has emerged as a central concern in the Government's Brexit agreement and uncertainties remain about the effectiveness of no-deal planning.

"My Committee's inquiry will explore the implications of the agreement for Northern Ireland."

Written evidence regarding the following four issues will be sought:

• How the backstop would work in practice for Northern Ireland.
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• Scrutiny of the mechanisms in the Withdrawal Agreement which govern implementation of the backstop.

• What steps should be taken throughout the implementation period to secure an overall UK-EU deal that removes the need for a backstop.

• Northern Ireland's preparedness for a no-deal scenario.

The committee will also consider how day-to-day trade would operate between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the possible need for any extra checks on goods, how and by whom these would be carried out.

It will also assess the Stormont deadlock and repeated calls by some for direct rule, and whether UK politicians or Northern Ireland civil servants should continue to represent the region in the continued absence of a devolved administration.

In the event of a no-deal crash out of the European Union, the committee will examine key actions which must be taken ahead of March 29 2019, the official date set for Brexit, and also the extent to which the Government has liaised with Northern Ireland business leaders to make contingency plans for such an eventuality.

The deadline for written evidence submissions is Monday 21 January 2019.


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