Boris Johnson’s Brexit “Deal” Screws Northern Ireland

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson demanded that the so-called Irish border "backstop" be removed from any breakup deal between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU), and he got that -- but that doesn't mean there won't be a border.

The agreement reached between the UK and the EU will move the border from between Ireland and Northern Ireland to between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

So, instead of a customs border at the Irish border, the customs border will be more or less in the sea between parts of the United Kingdom.

Lawmakers from North Ireland are already saying they will vote against it.

(Reuters) - Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday that Britain and the European Union had agreed a "great" new Brexit deal but still faced resistance from the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) as he sought support for the deal. [...]

However, the DUP, who have expressed concerns that the Brexit deal could cut Northern Ireland off from Britain in customs and regulatory terms, said there had been no change in their position following the confirmation of the deal.

Earlier the DUP had said it could not support the last-ditch Brexit proposal due to concerns about the issues of customs and consent, adding there was a lack of clarity on VAT (sales tax) arrangements.

It's easy for me to understand why the European Union agreed to this proposal because it leaves their market intact. Why should they care?

It's less easy for me to understand why the prime minister of the so-called "United" Kingdom would agree to erect a customs border within their own kingdom.

And that's not the only concern in this deal. Northern Irish lawmakers don't want to be cut off from the rest of Britain, but Scottish lawmakers also believe this will put them at a competitive disadvantage because businesses in Northern Ireland will have easy access to the EU market through cross border train with Ireland while Scotland will not.

There's that dirty word -- independence!

If Johnson's deal does squeak through parliament, it will put the lie to conservative talking points and particularly their opposition to the backstop. There's still a backstop in this deal, but the backstop is between parts of the United Kingdom.

If you're conservative, pro-Brexit politician who said the backstop threatens the cohesion of the Kingdom, then what the hell do you say to this? This is a border within your own borders.

  • Christopher Foxx

    If you’re conservative, pro-Brexit politician who said the backstop threatens the cohesion of the Kingdom, then what the hell do you say to this?

    They say the say thing they always say: a lie.

    It’ll be some part of “This isn’t really a backstop. And if it is a backstop, it doesn’t threaten the cohesion of the Kingdom. And if it does it threatens our cohesion, but that’s not a bad thing.”
    Or a complete denial: “I never said the backstop does threaten our cohesion. Your videos of me saying that are fake news.”

  • muselet

    On the one hand, this may very well be the stupidest deal ever struck by a national government.

    On the other hand … erm … give me a minute … no, sorry, there isn’t another hand.

    What Parliament will do is hard to predict, at least from 5400 miles away. My five bucks says the DUP will break from the coalition along with some Tories to vote against Boris Johnson’s latest brain fart; essentially, we’ll see a rerun of Theresa May’s difficulties. The big difference is that the Conservative Party won’t push Johnson out the door the way they did May.

    Madness. Utter madness.


  • Draxiar

    Imagine the legacy of BoJo…almost single handedly responsible for what may be the fracturing of the United Kingdom into single countries.