Brexit: Northern Ireland and the backstop plan - BBC Newsnight

Brexit: Northern Ireland and the backstop plan - BBC Newsnight

Brexit: Northern Ireland and the backstop plan - BBC Newsnight

Mrs May believes this would keep the Irish border open, while avoiding creating a customs border between Northern Ireland and the British mainland.

"We have the numbers, we are in a position of strength, and government knows it", one Conservative MP told Reuters. But he later added: "I find that it raises more questions than answers".

At the same time the United Kingdom would be able to strike free trade agreements with other countries and to implement those elements which did not affect the functioning of the backstop. They don't take place between European Union member states because of the common regulatory infrastructure (the single market). The UK is now challenging a recommendation by the European Union's Anti-Fraud organisation (OLAF) to recover €1.9 billion in customs duties the UK failed to collect.

The British proposal on Thursday was to extend the customs area to the British mainland. At the moment, 80% of customs duties are collected as European Union revenue and this is part of the EU's budget, so-called traditional own resources, of which 20% is retained by the European Union member state to cover its administrative costs for collecting the duty. But it also risks causing more domestic trouble for May, who needs to keep her divided Cabinet together and the Northern Irish party that props up her government onside.

The EU backstop option has been rightly criticised for reducing the single market "access of Northern Ireland to ... goods, including agricultural and electricity".

The Houses of Parliament are silhouetted against the morning sky in London, Britain December 14, 2016.

OMM director Rob Grimmond said: "It is crucial that MPs give due consideration to the offshore renewables industry ahead of their decision on the EU Withdrawal Bill, given the importance of a secure and flexible workforce to the work that we do". The DUP leader, Arlene Foster, said in early June that she would withdraw her support to May's government "if Northern Ireland was treated differently from the rest of the UK" after Brexit.

May's Northern Irish allies called that "an outrageous attempt to revert to the annexation of Northern Ireland".

Mr Thompson said last month the so-called "max fac" plan to use modern technology to solve the Irish border question would leave firms facing huge charges for customs declarations and for European Union "rules of origin".

"We must end the chaos of Brexit and focus minds on bridging the divide in our country and repairing our society".

"Like him, I am very proud of a career spent in worldwide human rights, promoting democracy and trying to secure healthy democratic cultures in countries everywhere". Our backstop can not be extended to the whole UK. Why? "Because it has been designed for the specific situation of Northern Ireland", he said.

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