Alliance Party Deputy Leader and Brexit Spokesperson, Stephen Farry, has expressed scepticism that the UK’s alternative ‘backstop’ proposal would be either viable or acceptable to the European Union.
Stephen Farry said: “This paper is more about managing divisions in the Cabinet and Conservative Party than getting the backstop over the line.
“Time is ticking by on an ever shortening window of opportunity to get a Withdrawal Agreement concluded.
“This document leaves many core issues unresolved. Maintaining an open border in Ireland requires not only clarity on customs but also regulatory alignment. It is unclear how a backstop with a time limit can be a backstop, especially given current performance of the UK Government there can be assurance that any future UK-EU relationship can be finalised swiftly. And it is unclear if a backstop designed to address the needs of Northern Ireland can be applied UK-wide without prejudging that wider UK-EU relationship.
“The only clear cut way through this mesh of contradictions is for the UK to accept something close to the current backstop in the Joint Report without a time-limit, that it has already signed up to, and to make clear a deep and long-term commitment to a Customs Union with the EU and continued participation in the Single Market.”