After standoff, May says Irish backstop can’t derail Brexit

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May urged the European Union on Monday to not enable a stand-off over the so-called Irish backstop to derail the Brexit talks, saying she believed a deal was achievable.

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May attends a roundtable assembly with business leaders whose firms are inaugural signatories of the Race at Work Charter on the Southbank Centre in London, Britain, October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls – RC1786791A20

In a press release to parliament earlier than she heads to Brussels for a vital summit on Wednesday, May was upbeat in regards to the possibilities of a cope with the EU, however repeated that she wouldn’t comply with something that might break up Britain.

However, lower than six months earlier than Britain leaves the bloc, May is below mounting stress to alter her technique after talks with the EU have been paused on the weekend when the 2 sides did not agree on learn how to cope with the UK’s solely land border with the EU.

The drawback of learn how to forestall the return of a tough border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland has turn into the largest hurdle to a deal on Brexit, Britain’s largest shift in coverage for greater than 40 years, and has elevated the opportunity of Britain leaving and not using a deal.

“It is frustrating that almost all the remaining points of disagreement are focused on how we manage a scenario which both sides hope should never come to pass and which, if it does, would only be temporary,” May mentioned.


“We cannot let this disagreement derail the prospects of a good deal and leave us with a ‘no-deal’ outcome that no-one wants,” she instructed a rowdy session of parliament.

May tried to guide lawmakers, lots of whom have criticised not solely her Brexit plans but additionally her negotiating technique, by means of the difficulties of what occurred in Brussels after her Brexit minister raced there for talks on Sunday.

She mentioned the EU had caught to its proposal of holding Northern Ireland within the EU customs union if a UK-wide plan shouldn’t be able to be put in place after a transitional association runs out on the finish of 2020.

But for May, who has mentioned repeatedly that she is not going to countenance the breakup of the United Kingdom, any suggestion that Northern Ireland might be handled otherwise to the remainder of Britain was unacceptable.

“As I have said many times, I could never accept that, no matter how unlikely such a scenario may be,” she mentioned.

“So it must be the case, first, that the backstop should not need to come into force.”

But May nonetheless faces a wrestle to ease the considerations of not solely the EU, however of her Conservative Party and her companions in parliament, Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).


Eurosceptics in her social gathering worry backstop might maintain Britain indefinitely within the bloc’s customs union, whereas the DUP says it may possibly by no means settle for something that splits Northern Ireland from the remainder of Britain, even going as far as to say it will withdraw the assist in parliament upon which May depends.

There has been little success up to now in narrowing that hole, and Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney mentioned any deal would now “take a bit more time than many people had hoped”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel additionally mentioned she had been “very hopeful” deal on Britain’s exit might be achieved however “at the moment it actually looks a bit more difficult”.

A spokesman for May held out hope, saying there have been “a number of means of achieving what we want to achieve” on the backstop. He declined to provide particulars and repeated Britain’s view that any such association could be time-limited.

“I need to be able to look the British people in the eye and say this backstop is a temporary solution,” May instructed parliament.

“This is the time for cool, calm heads to prevail. And it is the time for a clear-eyed focus on the few remaining but critical issues that are still to be agreed.”

(This story has been refiled to chop superfluous phrase “with the European Union” from first paragraph.)

Additional reporting by Amanda Ferguson in Belfast, Gabriela Baczynska, Francesco Guarascio, Alastair Macdonald in Brussels and Michelle Martin in Berlin; Editing by Janet Lawrence and David Stamp

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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