Brexit back­stop is ‘not enough’

VOTE LOOMS: NEW SAFE­GUARDS GIVE PARLY MORE POWER Pro­posal will face op­po­si­tion from EU ne­go­tia­tors who say it is ‘in­sur­ance pol­icy’.

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - WORLD -

Three law­mak­ers loyal to Prime Minister Theresa May have pro­posed new Brexit safe­guards to give par­lia­ment more say on the con­tentious is­sue of North­ern Ire­land in a bid to help her win a cru­cial vote to ap­prove the gov­ern­ment’s exit deal.

May is bat­tling to get her With­drawal Agree­ment with the Euro­pean Union through par­lia­ment in a vote on Tues­day that will de­fine Bri­tain’s de­par­ture from the bloc and her fu­ture as a leader. Cur­rent fore­casts sug­gest she will lose the vote.

The main vote is on a mo­tion stat­ing that law­mak­ers in the House of Com­mons ap­prove the Brexit deal. But law­mak­ers can also try to change the word­ing of the mo­tion through a par­lia­men­tary de­vice known as an amend­ment. The lat­est amend­ment ad­dresses the back­stop, an el­e­ment of the di­vorce deal that has an­gered law­mak­ers in May’s party and her al­lies in North­ern Ire­land’s Demo­cratic Union­ist Party.

It is in­tended to en­sure there is no re­turn to a hard border be­tween Bri­tish-ruled North­ern Ire­land and EU-mem­ber Ire­land.

Crit­ics say, how­ever, it could leave Bri­tain forced to ac­cept EU reg­u­la­tions in­def­i­nitely, or it will treat North­ern Ire­land dif­fer­ently from the rest of the United King­dom.

The BBC’s po­lit­i­cal ed­i­tor, Laura Kuenss­berg, tweeted a photo of a signed amend­ment which would give par­lia­ment a vote on whether Bri­tain should en­ter the back­stop pe­riod, or whether an ex­ten­sion to the im­ple­men­ta­tion pe­riod should be sought in­stead. It adds that, should the back­stop come into force, both sides would in­tend to agree a fu­ture re­la­tion­ship or al­ter­na­tive ar­range­ment one year af­ter the end of the im­ple­men­ta­tion pe­riod.

That pro­posal would likely face op­po­si­tion from Euro­pean Union ne­go­tia­tors who have said the back­stop is an in­sur­ance pol­icy against a hard border, and can­not in­clude a time limit.

Kuenss­berg said gov­ern­ment sources had sug­gested they would back this amend­ment. May’s of­fice did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment. The amend­ment was pro­posed hours af­ter May said she was look­ing at whether par­lia­ment could be given a greater role in de­cid­ing whether to trig­ger the back­stop. How­ever, crit­ics re­acted with scep­ti­cism to the lat­est amend­ment, say­ing it did lit­tle new and would not win over law­mak­ers.

Cur­rent fore­casts sug­gest May will lose vote

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