May: MPs could de­cide back­stop

Western Daily Press - - Uk & World News - SHAUN CON­NOLLY AND HAR­RIET LINE

PRIME Min­is­ter Theresa May has sig­nalled that MPs could be given the power to de­cide whether the UK goes into a con­tro­ver­sial Brexit back­stop ar­range­ment re­gard­ing the North­ern Ir­ish bor­der.

Mrs May in­di­cated Par­lia­ment would choose be­tween trig­ger­ing the back­stop or ex­tend­ing a tran­si­tion pe­riod after the UK for­mally quits the EU.

The move is likely to be seen as a bid to bol­ster flag­ging sup­port ahead of a crunch Com­mons vote on her EU with­drawal deal next Tues­day – a show­down the PM made clear she would not post­pone.

Mrs May told BBC Ra­dio 4’s To­day pro­gramme: “There will be a choice be­tween, if we get to that point, a choice be­tween go­ing into the back­stop and ex­tend­ing the tran­si­tion pe­riod.

“Now, there are pros and cons of both sides of that.

“Peo­ple have a con­cern of the back­stop, that we could be in it in­def­i­nitely.

“But, in the back­stop we have no fi­nan­cial obli­ga­tions, we have no free move­ment, we have very light level play­ing field rules with the EU. In the im­ple­men­ta­tion pe­riod, we still have to ne­go­ti­ate the terms, but there will be con­cerns about the fact that they would re­quire, I’m sure they would re­quire, some more money to be paid, for ex­am­ple.

“So there would be ar­gu­ments on dif­fer­ent sides.”

Asked if she would be happy for Par­lia­ment to ad­ju­di­cate on whether to go into the back­stop or ex­tend im­ple­men­ta­tion, the PM said: “I think peo­ple are con­cerned about the role of the UK in mak­ing these de­ci­sions. And, the ob­vi­ous, in terms of the UK, is for it to be Par­lia­ment that makes these de­ci­sions.”

The back­stop, in­tended to pre­vent the re­turn of a hard bor­der in North­ern Ire­land, is highly con­tro­ver­sial as Brex­i­teer MPs claim it traps the UK into obey­ing rules set by Brus­sels with­out a say over them.

The Gov­ern­ment says it aims to con­clude a com­pre­hen­sive trade deal with the EU be­fore a back­stop ar­range­ment would be needed.

Mrs May said that any deal with the EU, such as a Canada-style free trade agree­ment favoured by some Brex­i­teers, would also re­quire a back­stop ar­range­ment.

Mrs May’s com­ments came as the Demo­cratic Union­ist Party (DUP) in­sisted it will with­draw sup­port for her Gov­ern­ment if the Prime Min­is­ter presses ahead with the Brexit deal with the EU.

Asked if the DUP was pre­pared to pre­cip­i­tate a gen­eral elec­tion, the party’s Brexit spokesman Sammy Wil­son told BBC Ra­dio 4’s To­day pro­gramme: “If it comes to the point where the Gov­ern­ment makes, shows, a de­ter­mi­na­tion to im­ple­ment the With­drawal Agree­ment with its dam­ag­ing terms at present, or some fu­ture ver­sion of it, which is still equally dam­ag­ing, we will not be sup­port­ing the Gov­ern­ment.”

A Down­ing Street spokes­woman re­jected sug­ges­tions that the With­drawal Agree­ment could be tweaked ahead of next week’s vote to take ac­count of con­cerns ex­pressed by MPs. “We have been per­fectly clear that the With­drawal Agree­ment is agreed and fi­nal,” she said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.