22/05/2019

PM Outlines New Brexit Deal

Prime Minister Theresa May has set out a new Brexit deal which would seek to conclude alternative arrangements for the Irish backstop by December 2020.

MPs will get to vote on whether to hold another referendum if they back the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which contains new guarantees on workers' rights, environmental protections and the Irish backstop as well as a customs "compromise".

Parliament has so far rejected the Prime Minister's deal on three separate occasions. Mrs May yesterday warned that her new strategy provides "one last chance" for MPs to deliver on the result of the 2016 referendum and take the UK out of the European Union.

Reacting to the statement on Tuesday afternoon, the DUP Parliamentary Leader Nigel Dodds said the "fundamental flaws" of the draft Withdrawal Agreement remain unchanged.
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The Prime Minister said she had listened to unionist concerns on the matter, but the backstop would remain, this time with a legal commitment to find a different arrangement by the end of 2020.

"Many of the proposals of the backstop serve as an attempt through domestic law to mitigate a bad deal whereas the focus should be on getting a better deal," Mr Dodds commented.

"We will have to await the publication of the text of the Bill to see what the proposals actually mean but the fact is that the fatal flaws of the draft treaty remain."

The proposed alternative arrangements are likely to mean technological solutions for the Irish border which would allow trade to cross the border freely if the UK ends up outside the EU customs union and single market.

DUP votes remain crucial for the success of the Prime Minister's deal as the Stormont party's MPs prop up the Conservative government through Mrs May's confidence and supply agreement.



(JG/CM)

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