Boris Johnson says deal is possible (BBC)
- As Parliament is suspended for five weeks until 14 October, Boris Johnson has said “there is a way” of agreeing a new Brexit deal.
- The Irish backstop remains a key barrier to an agreement. The prime minister held talks with Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist leader Arlene Foster and her deputy Nigel Dodds, whose party has supported the Conservative government since the 2017 election.
- The DUP said it would not support any revised version of Theresa May’s Brexit agreement which separates Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, for example in the form of a so-called Northern Ireland-only backstop, which would be “unacceptable” to the DUP, and would require Northern Ireland to remain in the customs union (and accordingly remain bound by EU rules for goods and animal products while the rest of the UK was not).
Brussels senses Johnson shift on Northern Ireland-only backstop (FT)
- Having suffered defeats in the House of Commons in relation to the passing of a law to force an extension on Brexit as well as in respect of the snap election, some EU diplomats believe Mr Johnson’s stance on the Irish border has softened. On Tuesday, Downing Street announced the “priority” now was to avoid a no-deal Brexit.
- Theresa May rejected the idea of a Northern-Ireland only backstop, as it would have created checks on trade between the Irish Trade and mainland Britain. The idea has now been revived and the Prime Minister is increasingly under pressure to abandon his party’s alliance with the DUP, which remains strongly opposed to such an arrangement.
- If the PM does abandon his party’s alliance with the DUP, he would need to win the support of Labour MPs to push a deal through Parliament.
- Mr Johnson has also raised the possibility of an all-Ireland agrifood zone as an alternative to the backstop arrangement.