Brexit: No need for a backstop proposal on Northern Ireland

9th October 2018

Following the Brexit Secretary’s statement on progress in the negotiations to leave the EU and on the Government’s planning for no deal, Iain Duncan Smith highlights the recent paper by Lord Trimble and David Davis outlining practical solutions for the Northern Ireland border issue and that there is no need for a backstop proposal.

I am astonished that my right hon. Friend has written to his opposite number attacking Labour policy. Nobody here knows what Labour policy really is, so perhaps he can share those letters with us to help us understand it better.

Did my right hon. Friend read the recent paper by two former Northern Ireland Secretaries of State, Lord Trimble and my right hon. Friend’s predecessor, my right hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice and Howden (Mr Davis), explaining how practical solutions are available right now to resolve any issues around having a hard border in Northern Ireland? If he read it, does he agree that that paper demonstrates that there is now no need for a backstop proposal?

I thank my right hon. Friend for his questions. The search for a Labour party policy on the EU and on Brexit continues, but on the reports that he mentioned—there have been various reports on the technical solution to Northern Ireland—they have provided very important, useful additional insights. The reality is that we have committed, on top of the technical solutions, to agree a legally binding backstop with the EU, but it will have to be temporary and it will have to meet the conditions that we have set out and that the Prime Minister repeated in her statement after the Salzburg summit.

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