The North could stay in European Union after Brexit, lawyers suggest

30 November, 2017, 13:59 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said Brexit on Tory terms was bad for everyone

Britain has insisted it is impossible to finalise how the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic will work before UK-EU trade talks.

Irish agriculture minister Michael Creed said the British Government need to put forward a "political solution" to ensure there was no return to the "hard border" of the past when Britain leaves the EU single market and the customs union.

Prime Minister Theresa May said she's talking to Ireland and the Northern Irish party that props up her government with a view to reaching a compromise on what the border running through the island of Ireland should look like after the divorce.

Legal advice commissioned by Sinn Féin and other leftwing parties in the European parliament has laid out three ways in which the North could effectively remain in the EU after Brexit.

We're not quite sure what it is that we lost to be honest.

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Speaking at another committee hearing in Westminster on Wednesday, Northern Ireland minister Chloe Smith said the proposal was "not government policy" while Brexit minister Robin Walker said that the Government had been "very clear" that the result of the Brexit referendum applied across the whole UK.

"Then the Member States will define in 2018 the framework of this new partnership with the United Kingdom".

And then there was The Sun's crass and crude editorial, attacking Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, which was all part and parcel of the low-brow Leavers' campaign to portray Ireland as deliberately hijacking progress on the UK Government's plans to extricate themselves from the European Union.

The EU has said "sufficient progress" has to be made on the Irish border before negotiations on a future relationship can begin.

So the form of words will have to be robust enough to reassure Ireland that it is not taking a leap in the dark, but non-specific enough to allow Mrs May to reassure not just the DUP, but also hardline Conservative MPs, that the union between Britain and Northern Ireland was not being undermined.

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The Prime Minister said: "As the European Union themselves have said, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed".

May is due to meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday for lunch when she's expected to present the formal offer on the bill and Ireland. Customs rules to be decided as part of the future trade talks.

A Home Rule Bill might have let the two countries take their distance peacefully and gradually, while retaining close links - or maybe not, but it was worth a try.

Chief negotiator Michel Barnier was cautiously optimistic. "We are not there yet".

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