Boris Johnson says ‘anti-democratic’ backstop must be scrapped
• Boris Johnson has told the EU that the Irish border backstop must be scrapped as it is “unviable” and “anti-democratic”.
• In a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, the PM also said the backstop risked undermining the Northern Irish peace process.
• But Mr Tusk has rejected Mr Johnson’s demand to scrap the Irish backstop, saying that the UK offered no “realistic alternatives” to prevent the creation of a hard border in Ireland.
• What is the backstop? The Irish backstop is part of the Withdrawal Agreement, which was negotiated by former PM Theresa May with Brussels but rejected three times by MPs. The backstop is a position of last resort, to maintain a seamless border on the island of Ireland. It would involve the UK retaining a very close relationship with the EU for an indefinite period. It will apply if the UK and EU have not agreed a final deal at the end of a standstill transition period or if that final deal does not guarantee a soft border. It will not apply if the UK leaves without a deal in October.
Jeremy Corbyn: General election will stop Brexit ‘crisis’
• Jeremy Corbyn has said that the Tory party has “failed” the UK and a general election is the “change of direction the country needs”.
• The Labour leader said the UK was facing a Brexit “crisis” and vowed to do “everything necessary” to stop the UK leaving the EU without a deal.
• It comes after a leaked government report warned of food and medicine shortages in a no-deal exit.
‘Reckless’ plan to cut off free movement alarms EU nationals
• Plans to end freedom of movement for EU citizens immediately after a no-deal Brexit have caused anxiety and confusion among European nationals in the UK, with concerns they could be caught up in hostile environment policies.
• Downing Street confirmed rules allowing EU nationals to live and work freely in the UK would end abruptly if the UK leaves the bloc without an agreement at the end of October.
• In theory, the rights of EU citizens who have permanent residence in the UK should not be affected and they will continue to be allowed to apply for settled status – granted once they have lived in the UK for five years – until the end of December 2020.
• However, news of a possible sharp end to free movement without the transition period envisaged under Theresa May’s administration provoked concern about how at least 2.6 million EU nationals who have yet to apply for settled status would prove they are in the UK legally.