The draft Withdrawal Agreement reveals that there will be more regulatory checks between Northern Ireland and Britain – a red line for the DUP
The draft Withdrawal Agreement reveals that there will be more regulatory checks between Northern Ireland and Britain – a red line for the DUP.
The UK will also potentially be locked in a backstop to avoid a hard Irish border ‘unless and until’ another solution can be found, with no unilateral ability to exit.
That would mean obeying environmental and other rules to keep a ‘level playing field’.
Meanwhile, the document leaves open the option of indefinitely extending the transition period – essentially staying in the EU but having no say in setting the rules.
The detail of the deal started to emerged as the full Agreement was published tonight after two years of tortuous negotiations.
Brexiteers have already decried the plans as a betrayal of the referendum – and are threatening to stage a vote of no-confidence in a bid to oust her.
But Mrs May insisted tonight that the deal was in the ‘national interest’ and she believed with her ‘head and heart’ it was the best that could be hammered out.
On the Irish border ‘backstop’, the documents confirm that the whole UK would be inside a customs union if no other solution could be found to avoid a hard line between Northern Ireland and the Republic by the end of a transition period in December 2020.
‘Until the future relationship becomes applicable, a single customs territory between the Union and the United Kingdom shall be established (“the single customs territory”),’ the agreement said.
Britain and Northern Ireland will stay in the same customs territory under the backstop – meaning no tariffs, quotas or checks on rules of origin across the Irish Sea.
The UK will have to apply in Northern Ireland EU legislation on industrial, environmental and agricultural goods.
This will be policed by UK officials – but EU officials will be able to demand to be present.
Where EU law is applied, the European Court of Justice will remain ‘ultimate arbiter’, Government notes on the deal say.
The terms of the backstop say UK officials will be responsible for policing EU law that still applies in Northern Ireland after Brexit – but EU officials can demand to be present.
The laws are likely to regulation on products made in Northern Ireland and sold in the Republic.
The European Court of Justice will be in charge of disputes about EU law that applies in Northern Ireland.
Britain will take part in any cases at the ECJ as if it were still a member state, the document says.
Both the EU and UK will have the right to say the backstop should end because a new trade deal makes it irrelevant.
But neither side can act on it without agreement of ministers on both sides within six months.
The Withdrawal Agreement confirms a Brexit transition period – during which EU laws will continue to have effect in Britain – lasting until December 31, 2020.
After nearly five hours of behind-closed doors discussions, the PM declared that she will press ahead with her controversial plan
The DUP has already condemned the blueprint and suggested it could withdraw support from the PM (party Arlene Foster is pictured today)
However, the deal allows Britain to request an extension to the transition period ‘at any time’ before July 1, 2020.
An extension could allow Britain and the EU more time to reach a final deal over the Irish border.
In his press conference after Mrs May’s announcement Michel Barnier said the transition period could only be extended once.
The Northern Ireland backstop would only kick in if no final agreement had been reached at the end of the transition period, the Government said.
During the implementation period EU laws made in Brussels will continue to apply to Britain and the UK will be bound by the EU’s international agreements.
The UK is also expected to ‘make a contribution to the Union budget’ in 2019 and 2020 and until the end of the transition period.
In addition, decisions of the European Court of Justice will continue to have ‘binding force’ in Britain, according to the agreement.