Theresa May warned she will have to extend the Brexit transition period as border systems won’t be ready

THERESA May was warned she’ll have to extend the post-Brexit transition scheme – as border systems won’t be ready.

HMRC chiefs said it will take “up to 30 months” to have the necessary IT in place to manage the so-called Irish backstop.

Associated Press

Theresa May has been warned that she will have to extend the Brexit transition period[/caption]

Jon Thompson separately revealed he had been asked by Ministers to have a fresh look at what technological solutions could be developed to avoid the need for a hard border in Ireland over the longer-term.

The ‘backstop’ is essentially an insurance plan for a customs pact if the UK and EU fail to agree a new trade deal by the end of the proposed transition scheme in December 2020 – in 25 months’ time.

It’s designed to try and ensure checks aren’t required at the border.

But HMRC chief exec Jon Thompson told MPs: “We require some further clarity on what exactly is required so we know what IT systems we would need to build, and what systems we would have access to.

Associated Press

HMRC bosses say the systems required to manage the Irish backstop will not be ready in time[/caption]

“Once we have that we are in a position to build them or amend them.

“But it could take up to 30 months.”

Nicky Morgan, the Tory chair of the Treasury Select Committee told the Sun: “The evidence today seems to suggest that delays in putting in a functioning customs and borders mean the proposed transition period isn’t long enough.”

The Sun on Tuesday revealed Theresa May had won an agreement with the EU to abandon the backstop plan if both sides can agree on “alternative arrangements” to keep the border open.

Parliament TV

Jon Thomspon says the proposed transition period ‘isn’t long enough’[/caption]

Mr Thompson said he had met Chancellor Philip Hammond on Tuesday about Brexit plans. And he told MPs “Ministers” had asked him to explore technological solutions.

But he warned developing ‘Max Fac’ – a system based on smart technology tracking goods either side of the Irish border – could take 24 months to develop.


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