The Irish Backstop: nothing has changed

Document type
Report
Author(s)
Lord Bew; Lord Trimble
Publisher
Policy Exchange
Date of publication
18 March 2019
Subject(s)
Legislation
Collection
Social welfare
Material type
Reports

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This report states that the practical functioning and probable duration of any future backstop has been significantly changed in the course of recent negotiations.

Key points:

  • While the Withdrawal Agreement itself has not changed, the potential practical functioning and probable duration of any future backstop has been significantly changed in the course of recent negotiations.
  • Having ignored the issue for too long, the UK Government has finally begun to invest in a serious consideration of the technology that might render the backstop meaningless in practical terms.
  • Crucially, the Government has now admitted the point that there are circumstances in which the backstop may undercut the 1998 Good Friday Agreement rather than protect it, as it is intended to do. This could constitute the ‘socially destabilising effect’ by which certain provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement might be ‘disapplied’.

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