Nigel Dodds has turned up the heat on the government over the Irish backstop.

Backstop me if you think you’ve heard this one before: the DUP is at loggerheads with the government again. Nigel Dodds, the party’s leader in Westminster, has joined Tory Brexiteers in demanding that the Irish backstop deal – the legal mechanism for avoiding a hard border – must contain a specific end-date.

The EU27 says the opposite – they conceive the backstop as an insurance policy against the policies of future British governments and as such say that it would be pointless if time-limited. The Irish government has made that position repeatedly clear over the past week.

When triggered, which it is certain to be once the transition period ends, the backstop will keep the entire United Kingdom in something that looks and acts an awful lot like the customs union, as well as continued regulatory alignment with the EU. That isn’t the Brexit a lot of Tories want but it would respect the DUP’s red line on maintaining the integrity of the union.

Or would it? Dodds has sent several tweets this afternoon that will make incredibly uncomfortable reading for Downing Street.

On many occasions both the PM and the Brexit Secretary said the backstop would be time limited. This is critical. If it isn’t then the UK including Northen Ireland would be trapped in unacceptable arrangements unless and until the EU decide otherwise

— Nigel Dodds (@NigelDoddsDUP) October 12, 2018

So we will get the date it ends?

— Nigel Dodds (@NigelDoddsDUP) October 12, 2018

What is Dodds playing at? Whatever backstop the government agrees to is likely to apply to the whole United Kingdom. That any Brexit deal should work on that basis is ultimately the DUP’s most …read more

Source:: New Statesman


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