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Monday, 10 May 2021

Ireland warns no-backstop equals no-deal Brexit

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Ireland warns no-backstop equals no-deal Brexit
Ireland warns no-backstop equals no-deal Brexit

Ireland told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday that he must make specific proposals on the future of Irish border if there is to be any hope of averting a no-deal Brexit, saying Dublin cannot not rely on simple promises.

Francesca Lynagh reports.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared undaunted by the Brexit crisis on Monday (September 9), during his trip to meet the Irish Prime Minister in Dublin.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING: "I have one message that I want to land with you today, Leo, that is I want to find a deal, I want to get a deal." But Prime Minister Leo Varadakar warned Johnson that even if a deal was struck, agreeing a future free trade agreement would be a "Herculean" task.

He said Johnson must make specific proposals on the future of the Irish border: the most contensicous issue of the Brexit deal.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) IRISH PRIME MINISTER LEO VARADKAR, SAYING: "In the absence of agreed alternative arrangements, no backstop is no deal for us.

All it does is kick the can down the road for another 14 months; another 14 months of uncertainty for business, another 14 months of uncertainty for people north and south of the border, so that's not an option that we find attractive at all." Those Blunt remarks laying bear the difficulty of Johnson's gamble to use the threat of a no-deal Brexit to convince the EU to rewrite the withdrawal agreement.

Upon his return to London later on Monday, Johnson will again seek a general election - something the British parliament has so far refused to grant.

Parliament will then be suspended until the middle of next month.

Opposition parties don't want an election until no-deal is ruled out.

A bill forcing the prime minister to seek a delay to the October 31st exit date is due to become law on Monday.

It would force Johnson to request a three-month extension.

The prime minister says that will destroy Britain's negotiating strategy by removing the threat of a no-deal exit.

Just last week, Johnson - who lost his majority in parliament, expelled 21 rebel Conservatives, and saw his own brother quit - said he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than seek a delay.

The question is now whether he can avoid doing so - without breaking the law.

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