Karen Bradley: British government accepts insurance policy is needed for Northern Ireland post-Brexit

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Karen Bradley: British government accepts insurance policy is needed for Northern Ireland post-Brexit


Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA
Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley has said the British government accepts an insurance policy is needed for the people of Northern Ireland post-Brexit.

However, she said no solution on the backstop can undermine the integrity of the UK.

Her comments come in the wake of Brexit minister Dominic Raab insisting that the UK can only relent on extending the transition period after March 29 as an alternative to the backstop.

Mr Raab’s statements have been shot down by Irish ministers, with Junior European Affairs Minister, Helen McEntee, ruling out “new red lines” entering negotiations at this late stage.

The backstop – a mechanism to ensure that a hard border will not re-emerge on the island post-Brexit – has become the final hurdle in Brexit negotiations.

However, speaking today at a meeting of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA) in London, which is being attended by politicians from Ireland and the UK.

Ms Bradley said the UK is committed to upholding the Good Friday Agreement and to avoiding a hard border.

But she warned “we cannot accept any proposal that threatens the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom”.

“Both the EU and UK are in agreement that our future partnership is the answer to this and will provide the solutions in the long term,” she said.

“But to cater for a situation where a future relationship is not in place in time, we accept that an insurance policy is needed for the people of Northern Ireland.”

She said the UK wants to find solutions to the outstanding problems with the backstop as set out by the Theresa May and said the UK remains “confident for a positive outcome.”

Ms Bradley also said Westminster “believes wholeheartedly in devolution for Northern Ireland” and asserted that she believes the stalemate in the Assembly can be resolved.

The plenary session of the BIPA will be dominated by Brexit with a discussion on the state of play taking place later today .

The session will also hear from Adrian O’Neill, Ireland’s Ambassador to the UK. Tomorrow Michael Gove will address the second day of the session.

Online Editors

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