DUP denies presence of customs posts on border under latest Brexit plan


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Newsroom

11.09 3 Oct 2019


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The DUP has insisted that there will be no customs posts on the Irish border under the terms of Boris Johnson's Brexit plan.

The British Prime Minister outlined his proposals yesterday which would see Northern Ireland leave the Customs Union.

The "new protocol on Northern Ireland/Ireland" plans to replace the backstop detailed in Theresa May's withdrawal agreement.

It proposes that Northern Ireland follow EU regulations for at least four years but outside of the customs union, meaning there would be checks on some goods crossing the border.

It would also ask the Northern Ireland institutions at Stormont to vote every four years on whether they wished to remain under the plan.

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said this morning that while there will have to be a mechanism to collect VAT, there will be no physical infrastructure on the border.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, he said: "Boris Johnson has been clear we're not putting customs posts in Northern Ireland.

"What we propose is that, in relation to customs checks, you carry them out at the point of origin and the technology exists to do that.

"We have met the Prime Minister, we've talked to him in detail...he is not proposing to put physical infrastructure a couple of miles from the border."

Mr Donaldson said that the protocol "is a reasonable attempt to reach a compromise" but that the EU was not willing to do so.

He said: "On this proposal, if there isn't a willingness to compromise, then clearly we aren't going to get an agreement.

"As Boris Johnson said yesterday, to get an agreement, we need compromise on both sides and what we're hearing at the moment is that there isn't a willingness to compromise on the backstop and if that's the case then we're either heading for no-deal or an extension which will mean further uncertainty.

"There will be a need on the part of Brussels to compromise and at the moment we're not seeing that happening."

The EU is expected to formally respond to the proposals today, however, Guy Verhofstadt, the Brexit Coordinator for the European Parliament, said last night that they were "absolutely not positive" about Mr Johnson's plan.

In a phone call yesterday evening, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the British Prime Minister discussed the proposals.

Mr Varadkar said they "do not fully meet the agreed objectives of the backstop" but that he would study them in more detail and would consult with the EU institutions in the coming days.

The two leaders are due to speak again next week.

Main image: Jeffrey Donaldson. Photo: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

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